OPTIMIZING KENSEI MONK
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  1. #1
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    OPTIMIZING KENSEI MONK

    We are going to be starting a new campaign in June.
    I am going to be playing a Kensei Monk - wielding a Longsword and Longbow.
    I expect to primarily be upfront so that what I am focusing on.
    The campaign will go from levels 1-12.
    We are playing AL so the PHB +1 is Xanathar's Guide.

    Trying to decide Human or another race.
    I like Human for the Feat at 1st level but would like to hear other ideas. I am thinking the Mobile feat at some point.
    I have Bracers of Defense from a DM reward I will be able to put on him at 5th level (requires attunement).

    I would like to optimize him to be able to be a front liner (but obviously have the ability to move away - thus the Mobile feat).

    Once the campaign finishes I will continue to play the monk in Tier 3 and Tier 4 AL modules so always interested in hearing ideas on what to do from level 12 through 20.

    I haven't played a monk since 1st edition.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    The absolute best monk race is Aarakroca, but you can't run one in PHB+1 rules and also be a Kensei. Barring those, Wood elf is another good option, as you can get advantage using Stunning Strike to use Elven Accuracy.

    If you plan to be frontline, you'll need high AC and better than average HP. Unarmored Defense doesn't work with a shield, so you'll definitely want 16 Dex and Wis at level 1 (which gives you a respectable AC of 16) as well as 14 Con for the extra hit points. If you're running an Elf planning to take Elven Accuracy, you'll need 17 Dex at level 1 in order to get to 18 Dex with the +1 that Elven Accuracy gives you.

    I don't see huge benefit to sticking with monk past level 8 if you're only going to 12, so I would recommend multiclassing the last four levels. Fighter(battle master) is a good choice, it gives you extra HP and bigger hit dice, a fighting style (Archery/Dueling), Action Surge, and Superiority dice.

    I recommend Whip for your third Kensei Weapon, since the damage dice is boosted by Martial Arts and it gives you a reach weapon.

  3. #3
    I like the idea of choosing Kensei melee weapons that can also be thrown for versatility. Hand Axe and Dagger come to mind. I like whip too for the reach in one hand. don't worry about the damage die because it scales as you level up. If you aren't set on Human consider a half Orc.

  4. #4
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    I like the idea of the whip for my 3rd Kensei weapon. Also, a couple levels of fighter is interesting. Thanks!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by shadowoflameth View Post
    I like the idea of choosing Kensei melee weapons that can also be thrown for versatility. Hand Axe and Dagger come to mind. I like whip too for the reach in one hand. don't worry about the damage die because it scales as you level up. If you aren't set on Human consider a half Orc.
    I don't think Half-orc is a great option for Monk. Strength and Constitution are not typically Monk stats (Well Constitution is important for everyone, but it doesn't make up for the fact that you're starting with +2 Dex and Wis at maximum)

  6. #6
    Fair enough, but Savage Attack with the weapon damage die going up as the monk level does could be good albeit only when you crit. If you stun often though you have more chance.

  7. #7
    Fair enough, but Savage Attack with the weapon damage die going up as the monk level does could be good albeit only when you crit. If you stun often though you have more chance.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by shadowoflameth View Post
    Fair enough, but Savage Attack with the weapon damage die going up as the monk level does could be good albeit only when you crit. If you stun often though you have more chance.
    Your odds of landing a critical hit are 5% (or 9.5% if you're attacking with advantage) Assuming you're using a weapon dice of 1d8 (longsword or longbow until level 17), Savage attacks is adding, on average, (4.5*0.05) 0.225 damage per round if you don't have advantage, or (4.5*0.095) 0.428 damage per round if you do. That's not enough, in my opinion, to justify starting out with a lower Dex and Wis.

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