Improving the Monk




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    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:

    Spoiler:
    Class disciplines: DW, DM, SD, SH, SS, TC. For the purposes of the Martial Stance class feature (below), and any feats or maneuver items the monk may choose, his monk level adds fully to his Initiator Level (IL) for these disciplines.
    Martial Stance: At level 3, a Monk gains access to a single stance of his choice. The stance can be chosen from any of the nine disciplines, though he may only add his full Monk level to his Initiator Level for class disciplines, which limits his options for stances from other disciplines. Additionally, when selecting a new stance with this class feature, a Monk can choose to ignore all maneuvers known prerequisites. When doing so, treat his full IL as half what it would normally be (unlike most D&D math, this will cut a monks IL in non-class disciplines to his level) to determine the highest level stance he can qualify for. A monk who actually trains extensively in a discipline is capable of attaining greater mastery of stances than one who does not. This class feature is also gained at levels 5, 10, 14, and 18. Also, at each of these levels, a monk gains the ability once/day to change, activate, or deactivate his stance as an immediate action, rather than a swift action. Thus, a level 10 monk can use an immediate action to change his stance 3 times per day, for example.

    Wholeness of Body: This class feature is being improved, to heal Monk level x Wisdom modifier hit points per day, unless Monk level x 2 would be higher. At level 15, a Monk may use this class feature as an immediate action. If used in such a way, it can heal damage as it occurs and prevent death, similar to the Close Wounds spell.

    Rushing Torrent: At level 7, a monk has perfected his flurrying technique and can now add his additional flurry of blows attacks to any attack action, instead of being limited to a full attack action. This includes, but is not limited to, readied actions, charges, martial strike maneuvers, and Spring Attacks. The monk simply chooses to apply the flurry attacks at the start of the action (taking the appropriate attack penalty, if there is one). If the Monk has multiple attacks of opportunity allowed per round (such as from the Combat Reflexes feat), a monk may expend additional attacks of opportunity equal to the flurry attacks he wishes to add to a provoked attack of opportunity, delivering all of the attacks for just one provocation.


    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.


    Spoiler:
    I wanted to start on this, because when I do DM next time, I have very specific game world plans. I want low powered and low magic, with full casting classes required to multiclass every other level to keep their power down. I feel like the adept base classes would stand out as too strong in such a world, I'd like to try it with ToB the book allowed, but the classes banned. Therefore, Fighter and Monk would be the de-facto best ways to get some nine swords abilities with.


    Thoughts?
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    Consider full BAB. Consider changing 1/week or 1/day abilities to 1/encounter. Get rid of Tongue of Sun and Moon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dandu View Post
    Consider full BAB. Consider changing 1/week or 1/day abilities to 1/encounter. Get rid of Tongue of Sun and Moon.
    I'd rather not have to make it full BAB and leave as much of the class unchanged as possible. There can always be a full BAB "brawler" class made (someone on here did that once). Also, Swordsage seems to do fine with medium BAB, why can't monk?

    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.
    My Ninja class Fighter Variants Monk additions
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    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:

    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
    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.

    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.
    Last edited by Dannyalcatraz; Monday, 22nd March, 2010 at 04:34 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
    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.

    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.
    (Capoeiristas, even if they fought with the manacles on, practiced almost entirely with kicking techniques...because of the manacles they were wearing while enslaved. Haven't heard many stories of them tried to slug enemies with the manacles themselves. If doing that were so easy, why would they be working on their kicks so much? )

    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.
    My Ninja class Fighter Variants Monk additions
    Good defense of 3E mechanics

    Spoiler:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/goldeneaglecleaners

    My online gaming group, Torch of Spirit (Contains all information for the current game I'm co-DMing as well as lots of houserules I'm using or considering for the future. Feel free to check it out.)

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    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.
    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
    Metal School Founder; Campaign Ideas; my 3.X Databases: The Monk, The Martial Arcanist, Aquatic Ideas, The Psychonomicon

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    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.
    My Ninja class Fighter Variants Monk additions
    Good defense of 3E mechanics

    Spoiler:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/goldeneaglecleaners

    My online gaming group, Torch of Spirit (Contains all information for the current game I'm co-DMing as well as lots of houserules I'm using or considering for the future. Feel free to check it out.)

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    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
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    Shocking.

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    @OP: Just out of curiosity, do you plan to make a version of Paladin that uses stances and maneuvers as well? I just found the prospect of a Paladin with similar abilities to the Monk and Figther you had given out to be interesting, since I have gained a fondness for the Tome of Battle material as of late.

    Second reason would be because I plan to play a Paladin once my DM gets the game running (and finds two more players), but that is not as important as the reasons stated earlier XD

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