Homebrew High Strength Monk
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  1. #1

    High Strength Monk

    Hey everyone. I have a player wanting to play a monk, but they want to be a high strength character, not a high Dex character. How would you help facilitate this? Here were my thoughts:

    Option 1) Build a monk subclass that allows for light armor, with an AC formula of Wis instead of Dex. With +3 studded leather, it would reach the same AC as a 20/20 Dex/Wis Monk.

    Option 2) Build either an improved set of unarmed feats or a subclass for the Fighter.

    1 or 2 would depend most on which fit the character better. I havent gotten out of the player if they want to be a mystical character or a more grounded character.

    How would you handle this request?


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  2. #2
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    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



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    Block Saelorn


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    I think the "traditional" solution is to offer an alternate class feature that lets them substitute Strength for Dexterity in the normal monk AC formula.
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  3. #3
    Why?

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  4. #4
    I modeled the Hulk by making a Half-orc barbarian with the Tavern Brawler feat. This gives a 1d4 damage die for unarmed strikes and a bonus action grapple. A raging barbarian has advantage on strength checks, so it becomes fairly effective. Couple with bear totem, and it is fairly hard to put down. When I played that character, I got permission from the DM to also have Tavern Brawler allow a bonus action Shove. So at level 4 he could hit and grapple on turn 1 followed by shove prone and hit with advantage on turn two. At that point he was ground pounding his opponent, his allies had advantage as well, and the target's speed was 0 from the grapple, so it could not get up from prone.

    It isn't a monk, but it ticks a lot of the similar boxes:
    * mitigation of fall damage by raging
    * unarmed combat
    * unarmored defense

    The character could be a half-orc that does 1 + STR damage at level 1 or a variant human with Tavern Brawler for 1d4 + STR damage at level 1.

    Where he is different is the damage die does not scale as he levels up. In the grand scheme of things, that means 3 damage per hit at high level, but he makes up for that with much better survivability than the monk and battlefield control with the grappling.
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  5. #5
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    Block cbwjm


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    I'm still working on it, but I'm trying to come up with something similar for a monk archetype. The main issue is that you don't get your monk subclass until 3rd level so for levels 1 and 2 you're still going to be easily hit due to not having much in the way of AC (since you're going strength instead of dexterity for attack, it is likely that dexterity or wisdom will suffer a little). It also kind of morphed into a Constitution based subclass. I need to make some changes to make the monk want to focus on Strength over Dexterity.

    You'll see from the below that some of this is taken from other subclass options found in UA articles. I'm not sure that I like the Mountains Endurance at 6th level being too similar to the 17th level ability so I will likely change the 17th level ability to something else.

    Monk Subclass - Way of the Mountain

    Youve trained to endure great pain and deal damage with brutal efficiency.

    Enduring Mountain Stance
    At 3rd level, you can spend 2 ki points to enter the Enduring Mountain Stance. While in this stance, you may add your Constitution Modifier to your AC. When you are hit by a melee weapon attack, you may spend a ki point to make an unarmed strike as a reaction. The stance lasts for 1 minute.

    Mountains Endurance
    At 6th level, nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage is reduced by your Constitution Modifier (minimum 1).

    Avalanche Strike
    At 11 level, you gain the ability to augment your unarmed strikes with the strength of your ki. As bonus action, you can expend up to 3 ki points to grant your unarmed strikes a bonus to attack and damage rolls. The bonus equals the number of ki points you spent. This bonus lasts for 1 minute.

    Unbreakable
    At 17th level, you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons.

  6. #6
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    Cutpurse (Lvl 5)



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    Block THEMNGMNT


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    I would model this either by modifying the monk class or creating a new fighting style for the fighter. Here goes:

    For the monk:
    Allow Strength in place of Dexterity for monk weapons (and any other relevant abilities).
    Allow player to choose and use either the monk version of Unarmored Defense or the barbarian version of Unarmored Defense.
    Thematically and mechanically, I think a Str build pairs nicely with Way of the Long Death subclass.

    For the fighter, allow them to choose the Unarmed fighting style at first level:
    Unarmed strikes do 1d6 damage.
    You may make an offhand unarmed strike as a bonus action.
    You may add your proficiency bonus to damage rolls, in addition to attack rolls.

    Casual observers will note this is more powerful than the Tavern Brawler feat. That's the point. I've not playtested this, but it feels roughy in line with the damage output of armed fighters.

    Let us know how it goes!

  7. #7
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    Block Nevvur


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    You might want to look at the Pugilist class at the DMs Guild: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/1849...Pugilist-Class

    The mechanics are pretty similar to the Monk in execution, and you can refluff it to be more monk-like if the player likes that whole monastic flavor. Failing that, it could be a source for ideas when designing a new archetype.

  8. #8
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    Block Nevvur


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    Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
    I think the "traditional" solution is to offer an alternate class feature that lets them substitute Strength for Dexterity in the normal monk AC formula.
    Yeah, this is the easiest route to go. Aside from the benefits Dexterity offers all classes, the only real advantages Dexterity provides over Strength are to Unarmored Defense and Deflect Missiles. I would basically give the Strength AC formula as a freebie, with the cost of customization being the fact he'll be slightly less effective at deflecting missiles. It won't imbalance anything and it suits the character concept well enough.

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    Block Wiseblood


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    We have 2 strength monks in our party. No class tweaks just open hand monks. One multiclassed into Barb. The other is 2 levels behind and does fine. Higher dpr per round than the paladin due to mobility 50ft move vs 25ft move. Monk barb is tanky. Plain monk is support. Literally a bodyguard for squishy Bard.

    Both have Dex of 10. Evasion is stupid good.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Xeviat View Post
    Hey everyone. I have a player wanting to play a monk, but they want to be a high strength character, not a high Dex character. How would you help facilitate this? Here were my thoughts:

    Option 1) Build a monk subclass that allows for light armor, with an AC formula of Wis instead of Dex. With +3 studded leather, it would reach the same AC as a 20/20 Dex/Wis Monk.

    Option 2) Build either an improved set of unarmed feats or a subclass for the Fighter.

    1 or 2 would depend most on which fit the character better. I havent gotten out of the player if they want to be a mystical character or a more grounded character.

    How would you handle this request?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Honestly, I don't know how I would handle this request. I think option 1 is pretty good actually. Allowing light armor proficiency and replacing Unarmored Defense with Third Eye Sight (What I might call an ability that allows you to use Wisdom Modifier in place of Dexterity for Armor Class) is a pretty decent way to handle it.

    Alternatively, is this player set on the race they want to use? I don't know if you've seen it, but the Tortle is a race that makes Strength-based monk builds viable. They can reskin it if they don't like the image of being a ninja tortle, but mechanically it's a sound way to handle it.

    EDIT: Also, I'm thinking about Barbarians. They get unarmored defense, but the designers understood that most barbarians are going to be strength based and less likely to pump their Dexterity. So to mitigate that, Barbarians get Unarmored Defense, Light and Medium Armor, and Shields. That design gives players a choice of build.

    Monks don't usually get that because monks are more likely to choose to pump dexterity, and so gaining the ability to use light armor and shields would allow them to outpace almost any other build for AC. But if you know your player is going to be honest and play the monk for strength, I'd be willing to leave everything as is and just give them light armor, medium armor, and shield proficiency and rule that using them would not inhibit their Martial Arts or Ki abilities.
    Last edited by Hawk Diesel; Friday, 13th October, 2017 at 05:45 AM.

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