D&D 5E Buffing monks: with simple changes.

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
So I dug in and what I found is that TM updated his variant in a second video, and in that one he adds in the unarmored defense i mentioned
Do you have a link to that video you refer to as the second video I seen was not for modifying the core class but rather the subclasses. (I paid less attention to that video)

Because the one I linked to is in mid september. (and its only October), he had a much older one
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Treeantmonk has an interesting video on this subject.

The core of my own change is to let a monk recover all spend ki when they do the dodge action. You will always start with full Ki, but if you use it all in one fight, having to take a Dodge action is actually quite a big sacrifice for a fighting class.

Edit: Seriously ninja'd.
Same one I posted actually twice LOL his tweaks feel like a very targeted to the math adjustments.
 

TheOneGargoyle

Explorer
how about these (*based on treant monk's videos)

Hit die d10
Martial arts allows light or medium armor (enables samurai style characters as monks)
Martial arts die(dice): d6, d8, 2d6, 3d6 (+1 damage for versatile)
Ki DC is based on dexterity (allows more focus on Dex so more flexible builds)
Step of the Wind doesn’t have a resource cost
Quickened healing costs 1 ki point
Stunning Strike has a limited resource pool (once per proficiency per long rest), then costs ki
Stillness of Mind now works as it should (The intent here is your bonus action is still available)
Timeless body also recovers a level of exhaustion on a short rest
Empty Body is a bonus action
Perfect self now adds +4 to Dexterity and Wisdom maxes (like Barbarian stats)


Way of Mercy: No changes.

Way of Shadow: can cast their shadow arts spells once per long rest each, and at level 6 the darkvision spell allows seeing through the darkness spell cast with shadow arts.

Way of the Astral Self: Arms of the Astral Self allow 2 bonus action attacks when you use martial arts, Visage now provides advantage to Wisdom and Charisma checks and saves and doesn’t cost extra ki.

Way of the Drunken Master: Drunken Technique now provides advantage on the first attack with flurry of blows. Tipsy Sway and Drunkard’s Luck no longer cost ki.

Way of the 4 elements: We get Chi points, which equal our Ki points, and fuels our 4 elements features instead of ki.

Way of the Kensei: Kensei’s shot now gives a bonus action ranged attack instead of the d4. Sharpen the Blade now allows combining with magical weapons, to a maximum of +3.

Long Death: Hour of Reaping now allows the Monk to choose the radius of the effect up to 30 feet.

Open Hand: Wholeness of body now restores full hit points and Tranquility now recovers every short or long rest.

Sun Soul: Now Radiant sun bolt works like a 30 foot range for unarmed combat, except radiant damage. Searing Arc Strike is free unless you upcast it, and Searing Sunburst now allows you to cast Fireball with Radiant damage, proficiency bonus times per long rest.

I'm not for a minute second-guessing someone like Treant who I think has far more experience optimizing than myself, however for me that's still a LOT of changes, way more than I'd like.

I'd prefer a much more cut-down list, with just a couple of essential, super-minimalistic changes.

How about these:
  • Martial Arts: Bump MA dice up one category (so starts at 1d6 at L1, add 2d6 at L17+)
  • Ki: You gain a bonus to ki pool equal to Wis modifier
  • Empty Body can be activated as a bonus action
  • Perfect self now adds +4 to Dexterity and Wisdom maxes (like Barbarian stats)
  • Ki Mastery (L11): Your understanding of using ki improves. PD can now be activated as a reaction to being attacked, SotW gives both Dash & Disengage if used, and FoB gives a 3rd attack.

Honestly I think that would go a long way to solve the monk base class issues. Obv doesn't address specific subclass issues but that's a more involved discussion.

Thoughts & feedback ?
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Monks are pretty good - if you are actually judging the monk. But since it has no directly comparable class, you're often judging it against something else and it feel lackluster because the other class is better at what that class specializes in - like damage.
the problem with some of these comparison is that they are not comparing to the same class. "oh the rogue has better stealth. Oh the barbarian is more resilient. Oh the wizard is better a control" ... but no consideration that no one can do all that the monk can do.
 


clearstream

(He, Him)
I'm not for a minute second-guessing someone like Treant who I think has far more experience optimizing than myself, however for me that's still a LOT of changes, way more than I'd like.

I'd prefer a much more cut-down list, with just a couple of essential, super-minimalistic changes.

How about these:
  • Martial Arts: Bump MA dice up one category (so starts at 1d6 at L1, add 2d6 at L17+)
  • Ki: You gain a bonus to ki pool equal to Wis modifier
  • Empty Body can be activated as a bonus action
  • Perfect self now adds +4 to Dexterity and Wisdom maxes (like Barbarian stats)
  • Ki Mastery (L11): Your understanding of using ki improves. PD can now be activated as a reaction to being attacked, SotW gives both Dash & Disengage if used, and FoB gives a 3rd attack.

Honestly I think that would go a long way to solve the monk base class issues. Obv doesn't address specific subclass issues but that's a more involved discussion.

Thoughts & feedback ?
I agree. His changes are thoughtful, but feel for me more extensive than I'd like.

The kind of rules I feel drawn to are similar to yours, with the following slight tweaks
  1. Monks gain 1 extra skill at 1st level.
  2. Monks gain 2 extra ki at 2nd level. I feel that is better than tying it to Wis, which just worsens their MADness.
  3. Monks gain +1-2 damage per attack in whatever way takes your fancy. A simple approach is to increase their martial die as you suggest, although I have a fondness for a d12 over 2d6. TCoE's Dedicated Weapon is another approach, and also gives access to better ranged weapons.
I tend not to worry about house-ruling tier 4 abilities, seeing as the game is so hairy by that point anyway. Even so, your suggestions relating to Empty Body and Perfect Self look good. What is motivating your thoughts for the 11th level Ki Mastery? Why do you see that as necessary?
 

TheOneGargoyle

Explorer
I agree. His changes are thoughtful, but feel for me more extensive than I'd like.

The kind of rules I feel drawn to are similar to yours, with the following slight tweaks
  1. Monks gain 1 extra skill at 1st level.
Do you feel monks are lacking in the skill department ? Between background, class and maybe race I've always found I could get the ones I wanted. Do you mean an extra choice from the existing monk list, or something outside that list ? Either way I'm keen to keep it to only the bare essentials and an extra skill doesn't feel super important to me. Keen to understand your thoughts on it though.
  1. Monks gain 2 extra ki at 2nd level. I feel that is better than tying it to Wis, which just worsens their MADness.
Monks already have Wis as their second-most important stat so this wouldn't increase their MAD-ness to my way of thinking. I'm also a sucker for the thematic side of having a wise monk, so it seems fitting to me. Also other things in the game use level+stat such as number of prepared spells etc, so I figured it was an established precedent.
But if other people didn't want that and preferred a flat bonus then that would be fine with me too. I'd probably suggest more than +2 though as I just don't think that is enough to fix the basic issue that nearly everything they want to do uses ki and they get so little of it. Maybe +proficiency bonus ?
  1. Monks gain +1-2 damage per attack in whatever way takes your fancy. A simple approach is to increase their martial die as you suggest, although I have a fondness for a d12 over 2d6. TCoE's Dedicated Weapon is another approach, and also gives access to better ranged weapons.
Agreed a small boost is probably all they need. Bumping up one die seemed easiest to me, and harked back to previous editions (I made up my first monk in 1983 ...) where they got higher dice, but d12 would be fine with me too. Again, if people preferred a flat bonus then that would be fine with me as well, or like Treantmonk's suggestion of +1 with versatile weapons. Anything like that would be ok.
Yeah, Tasha's dedicated weapon helps a lot, although I suspect it's going to just mean we see lots more elven monks with flame tongue longswords, but, oh well, can't have everything.
I tend not to worry about house-ruling tier 4 abilities, seeing as the game is so hairy by that point anyway. Even so, your suggestions relating to Empty Body and Perfect Self look good.
I play & GM T4 games so it's definitely something that comes up for me.
I wish I could take credit but those are straight copies of Treant's suggestions. But yeah, they seem excellent to me.
What is motivating your thoughts for the 11th level Ki Mastery? Why do you see that as necessary?
They just don't seem to me to do enough damage in Tier 3 and 4. I was thinking about how most classes get significant bumps to dmg output in these levels, but monks just don't.
Then I found
this thread (before it devolved into pages of arguing about shields), scroll down to the second graph of coloured lines and have a look at what happens to the green line - it essentially plateaus. In fact, unless you count the stat bump at L8, and very slight incremental bumps of MA dice increasing, there is no change to the dmg output of the base class from L5 when they get Extra Attack all the way to L20 .....
And that really sealed the deal for me.

They need something. They don't need to be DPR king of the mountain, but they can't just stay almost flat from L5 or L8 either, that's just wrong to me.
That got me thinking .... they get 3 core class abilities at L2: FoB, PD & SotW and they never ever improve, which just seems odd. So, I figured, what if they got an improvement half way through their career, to just make them a bit more efficient, a bit more streamlined.
Nothing over the top, just make them a bit nicer for their "grown up" part of their career.
Anyway, that was my thought process.
What do you think ?
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
That got me thinking .... they get 3 core class abilities at L2: FoB, PD & SotW and they never ever improve, which just seems odd. So, I figured, what if they got an improvement half way through their career, to just make them a bit more efficient, a bit more streamlined.
Nothing over the top, just make them a bit nicer for their "grown up" part of their career.
Anyway, that was my thought process.
What do you think ?

That's basically what I did on my rewrite, though I did some substantive changes I think overall. I won't post all of the changes I made (some of it was officially adding in options from the Tasha's UA playtest and fixing some obviously broken things like Stillness of Mind)

At level 10, alongside Purity of Body, I did the following
  • Flurry of blows is a Bonus Action for 3 attacks instead of 2
  • When you use Step of the Wind, increase speed by 10 ft
  • You can use Patient Defense as a Reaction
  • You get two reactions per Round

Then at level 15 with Timeless Body
  • You have a third attack with your normal attack
  • Step of the Wind is Dash AND Disengage for the same Bonus Action
  • You get Three Reactions per Round

And finally at level 20
  • Flurry, Step and Patient Defense (not the reaction version) and Deflect Missiles no longer cost Ki
  • You get Four reactions per Round
  • +2 to attack and damage for unarmed strikes.


It could be slightly overtuned, but I don't think it is too far off the mark (and I've tended to increase the power of all classes here and there, so parity is mostly being kept I think)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
One idea I thought of if the monk is going to be a master of mobility in combat they need methods for making that mobility safer like any opportunity attack granted by monk movement might be made at a disadvantage.
 

Starfox

Adventurer
I am not afraid of changes. My Homebrew Monk with extensive changes.

My Editor's Notes for this:
The elephant in the room for monks is the lack of ki points. This version solves the problem by renewing the ki pool with the dodge action. This naturally creates other problems, that had to be solved with things like limited uses per day.

The other major issue with the monk is lack of defenses, the monk has mediocre hot points an a poor armor class, yet is supposed to be a front-line combatant. My solution is that a monk can dodge (without regaining ki) simply by spending a point of ki. This should give the monk defenses on par with other melee combatants and with a flavor of its own.

There is also a major change in that none of the abilities covered under the Ki ability now require an action. This includes the dodge mentioned above, but also flurry of blows - which now gives one additional attack, which combined with martial arts gives the same number of attack with the same cost as before.

Inspired by Treantmonk, I gave monks the ability to use light and medium armor. I also gave them access to martial weapons, but the ability to use weapons with Dex remains mostly as it was. This allowed me to add monk weapons to the weapon table that certainly are not simple weapons. It also opens the possibility of Strength based monks. I made a table that clearly shows which abilities work with which types of armor, you give up quite a lot in order to use medium armor.

I also increased the martial arts die up to an alarming d20. This also matches Treeantmonk's damage calculation, I bow to his experience there. The idea is to increase the die average by about 50% with each improvement, and going from d12 to d20 does that. The biggest issue here is really that the step from d6 to d8 is too small, ideally a 1st-level monk should have a d5 martial arts die, but lets not go into new dice.

Minor changes include:


  • Unarmored movement now gives a jump bonus
  • Deflect missiles is greatly simplified and normally does not use a reaction
  • Quickened healing is once per rest because ki is no longer a limit outside of combat.
  • Stillness of mind now actually works.
  • Timeless body gained some actual utility,
  • Perfect self now recovers ki points every turn. Astral Projection now works on others. A single-target astral projection is next to useless, these are things you do as a team.
 


I'm also going to mention that the monk has to be a worse warrior than a fighter. Otherwise, with all their other advantages, why would you want to be a fighter?

I think this is a really important point. A monk can do all sorts of cool things that fighters cannot do. So I don't really support the goal of increasing a monk's damage to equal a fighter's.

The caveat here is that I've never played monk's at high level, which is where they really fall behind on damage. I can see an argument for giving them some kind of damage boost above level 11.

And I also could see a small boost to Ki. Not necessarily because they "need" it, but because spending Ki is fun. A few possible approaches:
1. Let subclass abilities get used once each for free, with additional uses costing Ki. (This would really help 4E monks.)
2. Let Ki get regenerated on specific unpredictable events, e.g. on crits. This would be fun, but hard to design well, imo.
3. Just give more Ki points, e.g. add Wisdom modifier.
 

Starfox

Adventurer
Hom much can a Monk do (especially assuming they are short on Ki) that a fighter can't? I don't see so many things any more. 5E did away with most armor penalties. Yes, they run faster, but the rest is mainly about skills, and a fighter can get these skills as well.
 

Quartz

Hero
For those fearful of multiclassing cheese, try applying 'The lower of X or your levels in the Y class' to the ability in question.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
For those fearful of multiclassing cheese, try applying 'The lower of X or your levels in the Y class' to the ability in question.
The time I tried MCing with the Monk it was really disappointing ... the KI requirement on so many of their abilities seems to be a detriment even for somewhat deeper dips.
 
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Chaosmancer

Legend
I think this is a really important point. A monk can do all sorts of cool things that fighters cannot do. So I don't really support the goal of increasing a monk's damage to equal a fighter's.

Would you mind talking about some of the examples?

Because, one thing I think is a bit obvious in hindsight for me is that Martial Arts and Unarmored Defense exist only to bring the monk up to parity with a fighter/ranger/barbarian/Paladin 's proficiencies. And since the use of armor and weapons is baseline, as is the ability to use dual-weilding.... in the end their entire power budget can be shrank to being the same as the dual-wielding fighting style.

And many of the low-cost or passive monk abilities that are not equivalent, like slow fall and deflect arrows, are not only occasionally niche but then have to be compared to things like... spellcasting, lay on hands, rage, ect.

I've heard that "there should be a cost to not having to use weapons and armor" but considering that means you CAN'T use magic armor and are unlikely to find good magical weapons, and the game assumes you can use armor and weapons and therefore access abilities and powers that way... I am beginning to suspect this is why the monk is under-powered, because... should there be a cost to not using weapons and armor if the goal is to start about the same or weaker and grow to... about the same?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Hom much can a Monk do (especially assuming they are short on Ki) that a fighter can't? I don't see so many things any more. 5E did away with most armor penalties. Yes, they run faster, but the rest is mainly about skills, and a fighter can get these skills as well.
Indeed and as has been said unless you can use that mobility to bring home something else substantive (a payload) it is mostly meaningless. It can be an alternative to ranged effects of other classes (but is defensively inferior to anything but really really short range ones)

The stunning ability is cool and somewhat nice to the delivered item but when the ability is only like 1/3 on average chance of going to work? TM made the first proficiency uses in a day not cost Ki... maybe that is enough, but maybe we can give it another buff that would fit would be saying you get it every crit too(not a huge thing)

I would like things like more improved knockdown throws (size does not matter) and slowing or paralyzing pressure point strikes and similar too.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Would you mind talking about some of the examples?

Because, one thing I think is a bit obvious in hindsight for me is that Martial Arts and Unarmored Defense exist only to bring the monk up to parity with a fighter/ranger/barbarian/Paladin 's proficiencies. And since the use of armor and weapons is baseline, as is the ability to use dual-weilding.... in the end their entire power budget can be shrank to being the same as the dual-wielding fighting style.

And many of the low-cost or passive monk abilities that are not equivalent, like slow fall and deflect arrows, are not only occasionally niche but then have to be compared to things like... spellcasting, lay on hands, rage, ect.

I've heard that "there should be a cost to not having to use weapons and armor" but considering that means you CAN'T use magic armor and are unlikely to find good magical weapons, and the game assumes you can use armor and weapons and therefore access abilities and powers that way... I am beginning to suspect this is why the monk is under-powered, because... should there be a cost to not using weapons and armor if the goal is to start about the same or weaker and grow to... about the same?
Yeh the basic features are virtually flavor text and just playing catch up.
 

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