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

TheOneGargoyle

Explorer
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.
I don't think this is a fruitful avenue to take things in.
For a start, high level fighter DPS is way ahead of monks, and the sorts of changes you'd have to do to a monk to have them catch up to a fighter, I think are waaay beyond what is being proposed in this thread. T4 fighters get more attacks, for more damage per attack with little to no expenditure of resources, plus better weapons, magic bonuses, etc and that's not a gap easily closed.
Second, DPS is far from the only factor in building a fighter (or a monk for that matter). If you build a fighter as an extreme defensive tank, would you still insist it has to have top-tier damage output ? (having said that, I think you'd find that even a defensive build fighter would probably still out-damage a monk).
So, let's instead focus on the fact that monk is a pretty widely acknowledged bottom-shelf performer and needs a little love :)

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.
Exactly. Monk DPR in T1 & T2 isn't great but it's ok. It's T3 & T4 where the wheels fall off.
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.
I think they do need it, but I respect your view and experience that they don't :)
 

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Stalker0

Legend
Second, DPS is far from the only factor in building a fighter (or a monk for that matter).
I think the better route is to focus on the Monk's controller abilities. To me that is a niche they used in 4e and in 3e (with various grapple builds) and I think its a good way to go. At the end of the day, what differentiates the monk from the fighter, barb, paladin is as a "martial controller". Stunning Blow is one tool in that arsenal, and the open hand monk gets several others.

I think you could continue to look at that path for ways to buff the monk that are not in direct competition with other martials, and helps the monk to carve its unique niche.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
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.
It's a suggestion I read from another poster, that I think sits well with the role I observe monks trying to fill in my campaigns. I agree it isn't a priority and for the sake of applying the simplest and most focused fixes possible, I would drop it.

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 ?
I have tried this in my campaign, and it was extremely clear that monks do not need a scaling bonus to ki. At higher tiers, they are action-economy limited far more than they are ki limited. Where they struggle is in tiers 1 and 2, and I have found through play that about 2 points gives them just enough ki to fix that.

The problem that I have observed with putting more emphasis on any given one of their MAD abilities is what you lock players out of choosing. (When I say lock out, I mean from the perspective of choices that are mechanically viable, which I think is what is at issue when we are talking about addressing a class's power.) The more that they benefit from wisdom, the more they are punished if they want to stray from that.

When you don't think it is enough, have you tried it in play at your table? I have tried both scaling and flat in play at my table, and I see monks being freer to create the character they want with the flat increase, and not suffering (for ki, at least) at higher levels.

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.
From TCoE I expect more monks with shortbows or light or hand crossbows. In conjunction with the increased damage die, they become pretty effective. I haven't seen one in play yet though.

Agree that it is really just - take you pick of ways to give monks +1-2 pts more damage per attack.

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 ?
For unrelated purposes, I broke down the levelling structure of all classes. As you know, the basic scaling is 1x base attack in tier 1, 2x in tier 2, and 3x in tier 3. There are three or four kinds of such scaling. Some classes get an extra attack (e.g. fighters). Some classes get their scaling in their at-will spells (e.g. warlocks and wizards). Some get an extra damage die from somewhere (e.g. paladin improved divine smite). The designers are creating variety with this because it changes your preferred tactics in combat.

There is a bit of obfuscation, but it seems that there is a group that gets half of their scaling in the sub-class feature that they gain at 11th level. So monks get part of their scaling in a bigger martial arts die, and part in a feature that ought to deliver more damage. Kensai for instance can give their weapon up to +3 attack and damage for a minute, while way of mercy monks get a free trigger of hand of harm. Another class that has this scaling is the ranger, for example dreadful strikes scale at 11th for fey wanderers.

This can all be simplified to two simple approaches - either A) I get another attack, or B) I get more damage on my attacks. Fighters are A, monks are B. For this reason, I think it is mistaken to give them more attacks. Instead, they should gain more damage per attack.

Something else I noticed about monks and rangers is that they also get (or attempt to have) defensive powers at points where other classes might gain offensive powers. So I think tweaking PD and SoW the way you suggest could be justified, but not Flurry.
 

TheOneGargoyle

Explorer
Really nice comprehensive response !
It's a suggestion I read from another poster, that I think sits well with the role I observe monks trying to fill in my campaigns. I agree it isn't a priority and for the sake of applying the simplest and most focused fixes possible, I would drop it.
Agreed, I would drop the extra skill too.
I have tried this in my campaign, and it was extremely clear that monks do not need a scaling bonus to ki. At higher tiers, they are action-economy limited far more than they are ki limited. Where they struggle is in tiers 1 and 2, and I have found through play that about 2 points gives them just enough ki to fix that.

The problem that I have observed with putting more emphasis on any given one of their MAD abilities is what you lock players out of choosing. (When I say lock out, I mean from the perspective of choices that are mechanically viable, which I think is what is at issue when we are talking about addressing a class's power.) The more that they benefit from wisdom, the more they are punished if they want to stray from that.

When you don't think it is enough, have you tried it in play at your table? I have tried both scaling and flat in play at my table, and I see monks being freer to create the character they want with the flat increase, and not suffering (for ki, at least) at higher levels.
This is super valuable intel. No, I have not tried a flat +2 at my table, so hearing your play experience there is extremely interesting.
Based on this then, I would suggest more trials using the flat +2 and if that proves sufficient, then I would modify my approach to use yours.
From TCoE I expect more monks with shortbows or light or hand crossbows. In conjunction with the increased damage die, they become pretty effective. I haven't seen one in play yet though.

Agree that it is really just - take you pick of ways to give monks +1-2 pts more damage per attack.
Agreed.
For unrelated purposes, I broke down the levelling structure of all classes. As you know, the basic scaling is 1x base attack in tier 1, 2x in tier 2, and 3x in tier 3. There are three or four kinds of such scaling. Some classes get an extra attack (e.g. fighters). Some classes get their scaling in their at-will spells (e.g. warlocks and wizards). Some get an extra damage die from somewhere (e.g. paladin improved divine smite). The designers are creating variety with this because it changes your preferred tactics in combat.

There is a bit of obfuscation, but it seems that there is a group that gets half of their scaling in the sub-class feature that they gain at 11th level. So monks get part of their scaling in a bigger martial arts die, and part in a feature that ought to deliver more damage. Kensai for instance can give their weapon up to +3 attack and damage for a minute, while way of mercy monks get a free trigger of hand of harm. Another class that has this scaling is the ranger, for example dreadful strikes scale at 11th for fey wanderers.

This can all be simplified to two simple approaches - either A) I get another attack, or B) I get more damage on my attacks. Fighters are A, monks are B. For this reason, I think it is mistaken to give them more attacks. Instead, they should gain more damage per attack.
That is a really interesting line of thought!
Ok, so if we were to take that approach, instead of more attacks, how would you suggest we improve their damage per attack ? Clearly the MA dice bumps are woefully inadequate by themself. And I'd rather not go modifying every single subclass.
Something else I noticed about monks and rangers is that they also get (or attempt to have) defensive powers at points where other classes might gain offensive powers. So I think tweaking PD and SoW the way you suggest could be justified, but not Flurry.
Not sure I agree with this though.

Monks do get a string of defensive powers, eg:
  • Evasion at L7
  • Purity of Body at L10 (immune to disease & poison)
  • Diamond Soul at L14 (prof in all saves and spend ki to reroll)

But my point is that they do not get a single offensive power from when they get Extra Attack at L5 to .... well .... ever. Unless you count the d6 -> d10 upgrade, which is a avg bonus of 2 pts of dmg, a L20 monk has exactly the same dmg output as a L5 monk. Of course, a L20 can do that same L5 damage for longer, but he can't do any more per round. That's just so wrong. Show me any other class that does that, regardless of how strong their defensive abilities are.

Having said all that, your previous point about monks should get more damage per attack instead of more attacks per round, so maybe if they did more dmg per attack we wouldn't need to bump FoB ? What about if unarmed attacks (not monk weapon attacks) used 2 MA dice instead of 1 from level L11 onwards ?
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Not sure I agree with this though.

Monks do get a string of defensive powers, eg:
  • Evasion at L7
  • Purity of Body at L10 (immune to disease & poison)
  • Diamond Soul at L14 (prof in all saves and spend ki to reroll)

But my point is that they do not get a single offensive power from when they get Extra Attack at L5 to .... well .... ever. Unless you count the d6 -> d10 upgrade, which is a avg bonus of 2 pts of dmg, a L20 monk has exactly the same dmg output as a L5 monk. Of course, a L20 can do that same L5 damage for longer, but he can't do any more per round. That's just so wrong. Show me any other class that does that, regardless of how strong their defensive abilities are.

Having said all that, your previous point about monks should get more damage per attack instead of more attacks per round, so maybe if they did more dmg per attack we wouldn't need to bump FoB ? What about if unarmed attacks (not monk weapon attacks) used 2 MA dice instead of 1 from level L11 onwards ?

I don;t have time at the moment to do the research and compare the abilities, but my gut instinct says Rangers. Some of them get a subclass buff at level 11, but not all of them. I don't think the Gloomstalker, Monster Hunter, or Horizon Walker get a damage boost after 5th level.

Some of them get the ability to turn a miss into a hit, but that doesn't do anything if you aren't missing, and just makes them more consistent, not increasing.

Again though, this is just a gut instinct from some half-remembered lists, because I don't have the time to dig out my book at the moment, but if true... I don't think it is a coincidence that these are the two classes talked about the most as having issues.
 

TheOneGargoyle

Explorer
I don;t have time at the moment to do the research and compare the abilities, but my gut instinct says Rangers. Some of them get a subclass buff at level 11, but not all of them. I don't think the Gloomstalker, Monster Hunter, or Horizon Walker get a damage boost after 5th level.

Some of them get the ability to turn a miss into a hit, but that doesn't do anything if you aren't missing, and just makes them more consistent, not increasing.

Again though, this is just a gut instinct from some half-remembered lists, because I don't have the time to dig out my book at the moment, but if true... I don't think it is a coincidence that these are the two classes talked about the most as having issues.
Interesting, turns out you're effectively right. The only buffs to dmg the ranger base class gets after L5 is a very situational one at L18 (no disadvantage against opponents you can't see) and then the capstone at L20 (add their Wis mod to an attack or damage roll every turn). The former is so situational it's only going to very occasionally be a boost to dmg, but when it does come up, it might be significant bump. And the latter might turn a miss into a hit so it'll sometimes be a significant dmg boost, but most of the time it'll only be a small plus to dmg.

If we're counting the ranger L18 occasionally not having disavantage on attacks as a dmg boost though, I suppose we have to count the L18 monk Empty Body similarly, occasionally (when they can trigger it before combat starts), situationally (fighting monsters at L18+ that can't see invis) then they'll have advantage on their attack rolls, so that counts as a dmg boost I guess.

But the main point is that there's nothing between L5 and L18/20 so, effectively, you're still reasonably correct. I'm wondering if you might be right, maybe this is a major reason these are the two classes talked about as having the most issues!

Compare that to a) casters (bards, clerics, druids, sorcerers, wizards) who get damage boosts by way of higher level spell slots every second level, b) fighters who get extra attacks at L11 & L20 and extra Action Surge at L17, c) paladins who get higher level spell slots to smite with every 4 levels and more spell slots every 2 levels (& can smite multiple times per round) and Improved Divine Smite at L11, d) rogues that get extra Sneak Attack dice every 2 levels, e) warlocks that get EB scaling at 5th, 11th & 17th, additional dmg invocations, Mystic Arcarnums every 2 levels, extra spell slots at L11 & L17 and get all their spell slots back at L20, and f) artificers who get higher level spell slots every 4 levels, more spell slots every 2 levels, spell storing item at L11 which could store offensive spells, and additional attunement slots and the ability to ignore attunement requirements to use the most powerful offensive magic items in the game at L14.

Literally every single other class in the game gets significant damage increases in the T3 & T4 levels. Why not monks (& rangers) ?

Ok, new idea: As per the original Kung-Fu series, monks when they graduate from monk school automatically get a tattoo which works like the Eldritch Claw Tattoo except that it's a) attunement-free, b) scales with level (+1 & 1 use/day at L11, +2 & 2 uses/day at L17) and c) stacks with either the Insignia of the Claw or the actual Eldritch Claw Tattoo.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Interesting, turns out you're effectively right. The only buffs to dmg the ranger base class gets after L5 is a very situational one at L18 (no disadvantage against opponents you can't see) and then the capstone at L20 (add their Wis mod to an attack or damage roll every turn). The former is so situational it's only going to very occasionally be a boost to dmg, but when it does come up, it might be significant bump. And the latter might turn a miss into a hit so it'll sometimes be a significant dmg boost, but most of the time it'll only be a small plus to dmg.
I potentially disagree with @Chaosmancer on this (depending on what they mean to conclude.) Gloomstalker gets Stalker's Flurry which turns a miss into an attack. That increases the per attack damage without increasing the maximum number of hits. In strong accord with what I am describing. Fey wanderer gets Distant Strike, which gives them a conditional additional attack. And so on.

To clarify, we can easily make the case that the features are not strong enough. That doesn't change that the 11th level features are intended to increase damage in combat for these classes, neither of which gets the additional extra attack at 11th.

If we're counting the ranger L18 occasionally not having disavantage on attacks as a dmg boost though, I suppose we have to count the L18 monk Empty Body similarly, occasionally (when they can trigger it before combat starts), situationally (fighting monsters at L18+ that can't see invis) then they'll have advantage on their attack rolls, so that counts as a dmg boost I guess.

But the main point is that there's nothing between L5 and L18/20 so, effectively, you're still reasonably correct. I'm wondering if you might be right, maybe this is a major reason these are the two classes talked about as having the most issues!
Look at it this way - what features do these classes get instead of another extra attack at 11th? What do they get apart from their sub-class feature that is always designed one way or another to increase their DPR?
  1. All classes (no exceptions) get damage step increases at 5th and 11th level.
  2. Monk and ranger are intended to get an effective sub-class feature as part of their step increase in DPR at 11th.
That those features aren't strong enough is a separate conversation. Do you see what I mean? For @Chaosmancer to be right, one would have to believe that the designers decided that monks and rangers don't get damage step increases at 11th. That just isn't true.
 

Would you mind talking about some of the examples?

What I've seen at the table is that the monk's higher movement, falling, ability to end charmed/frightened condition at will, and stunning strike get used in creative ways at the table to dramatically change the outcome of encounters.

A fun example was a monk in our group who grappled an enemy and dragged him off a ledge, taking no damage (I can't remember the exact height) then using his movement speed and a Ki point to quickly get back into the fight.

It's outside of white room analysis, but it brings something to the table that is (or can be) both more potent than "I do another 37 damage" and a lot more fun.

And I should probably add a disclaimer to every post in this thread that my experience is almost exclusively at Tier I and II. But if monks do need some love at those tiers, I'd prefer to see it be more of this kind of flexibility, and not simply more damage (although some more damage might be part of it). If I just want to do damage I can roll a Fighter.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
. If you build a fighter as an extreme defensive tank, would you still insist it has to have top-tier damage output ? (having said that, I think you'd find that even a defensive build fighter would probably still out-damage a monk).
So, let's instead focus on the fact that monk is a pretty widely acknowledged bottom-shelf performer and needs a little love :)
I think monks are bad in the hand of the wrong player and the wrong campaign. But in the right campaign and the right player, they are very effective. They do seem to fall behind at tier 3 and above though...

As far as DPS, with the exception of action surge and level 11+, a monk will outdamage a defensive built fighter.

Fighter: sword and board, defensive style. Subclass: cavalier 2 attacks doing 1d8+5
Monk: using a longsword 2 handed (kensei or tasha?), no ki spent, 3 attacks doing 1d10+5

Am I missing something?
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I potentially disagree with @Chaosmancer on this (depending on what they mean to conclude.) Gloomstalker gets Stalker's Flurry which turns a miss into an attack. That increases the per attack damage without increasing the maximum number of hits. In strong accord with what I am describing. Fey wanderer gets Distant Strike, which gives them a conditional additional attack. And so on.

To clarify, we can easily make the case that the features are not strong enough. That doesn't change that the 11th level features are intended to increase damage in combat for these classes, neither of which gets the additional extra attack at 11th.

I don't see a feature called "Distant Strike" for the Fey Wanderer, so I can't comment on that. But I did consider the Stalker's Flurry.

The issue I think is that Stalker's Flurry does raise your average damage over a combat, by turning misses into hits, but it doesn't raise your potential damage per turn, because if you don't miss, Stalker's Flurry does nothing. More consistency, but not more damage.

OH WAIT, you meant for the Horizon Walker. Okay, yeah, If you attack two different creatures, you can make a third attack against a third creature. This is more potential damage per turn, but as you said it is pretty conditional. It only works when there are three creatures you can attack within range, and it forces you to spread your damage, which other types of boosts generally don't do. So, I'd say it's impact is pretty small overall, but it is a damage increase for the ranger at level 11.

Look at it this way - what features do these classes get instead of another extra attack at 11th? What do they get apart from their sub-class feature that is always designed one way or another to increase their DPR?
  1. All classes (no exceptions) get damage step increases at 5th and 11th level.
  2. Monk and ranger are intended to get an effective sub-class feature as part of their step increase in DPR at 11th.
That those features aren't strong enough is a separate conversation. Do you see what I mean? For @Chaosmancer to be right, one would have to believe that the designers decided that monks and rangers don't get damage step increases at 11th. That just isn't true.

But they don't, or at least some do but others don't.

Let's look at the Gloomstalker again. I'm going to pair out spells for a moment and just focus on features.

Level 5: 2d8+10 (longbow, 20 Dex) Level 5 First Turn of Combat: 4d8+15
Level 11: 2d8+10 Level 11 First Turn of Combat: 4d8+15

Yes, Stalker's flurry means that when you calculate the average over the combat, damage has increased, but it hasn't increased because you are doing more damage, it has increased because you are missing less.

Meanwhile, a Paladin looks like this

Level 5: 2d8+14 (Longsword, Strength 20, Dueling style)
Level 11: 4d8+14 (Add in Improved Divine Smite)

Where as the Gloomstalker is a 1-1 match, that paladin has added 2d8 or 9 damage to their potential for the round. All Paladins.


IF we look at (I have Xanathar's open so flip...) The Drunken Monk their level 11 ability is to spend 2 ki to cancel disadvantage. Again, this will increase the average over a combat (in theory) by making you miss less, but it doesn't actually improve the potential damage. For the Monk, that looks like this

Level 5: 2d8+2d6+20 (Staff, 20 dex, Flurry of Blows)
Level 11: 4d8+20 (martial arts die increase)

And the difference here is quite literally 2 pts per average.

And if we look at the Rogue
Level 5: 1d8+3d6+5 (Rapier, 20 Dex, Sneak attack)
Level 11: 1d8+6d6+5

So, I think the Ranger and Monk might get a variety of abilities, some increase accuracy, some conditionally increase potential damage, but it certainly isn't consistent, and it isn't really as much as you see in the other classes.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
What I've seen at the table is that the monk's higher movement, falling, ability to end charmed/frightened condition at will, and stunning strike get used in creative ways at the table to dramatically change the outcome of encounters.

A fun example was a monk in our group who grappled an enemy and dragged him off a ledge, taking no damage (I can't remember the exact height) then using his movement speed and a Ki point to quickly get back into the fight.

It's outside of white room analysis, but it brings something to the table that is (or can be) both more potent than "I do another 37 damage" and a lot more fun.

And I should probably add a disclaimer to every post in this thread that my experience is almost exclusively at Tier I and II. But if monks do need some love at those tiers, I'd prefer to see it be more of this kind of flexibility, and not simply more damage (although some more damage might be part of it). If I just want to do damage I can roll a Fighter.

So, I can see that, but all of those end up being pretty circumstantial.

For example, the "end charmed and Frightened" has a caveat. It takes an action. This means it isn't actually immediately useful against the Fear spell, because the fear spell says you must use your action to dash and get away. Which means your best case scenario is to dash, get out of line of sight. Next turn use Stillness of Mind to end fear if you didn't make the save for being out of line of sight of the enemy, then run and potentially even dash back towards the enemy, which could cost Ki or another action depending on if you can reach the enemy this last turn, meaning you are potentially looking at losing three turns... about the same as someone who failed the save and had to wait for the second save.

And for Charmed, I have heard speculation that the Monk needs to know they are charmed to take the action, which if the enemy has charmed them, and used persuasion to convince them to do something else with their action....



And the "suplex off cliff" is fun... but requires you to successfully grapple, and have a cliff nearby. And those sorts of drops aren't common, and not all enemies can be grappled. So, there are some niche scenarios that can be utilized, but I'm not sure if they are prevalent enough to account for falling out of step with the other classes. Because this isn't just "monks should be fighters" but a lack of increase in potential damage that even wizards and clerics have.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I think monks are bad in the hand of the wrong player and the wrong campaign. But in the right campaign and the right player, they are very effective. They do seem to fall behind at tier 3 and above though...

As far as DPS, with the exception of action surge and level 11+, a monk will outdamage a defensive built fighter.

Fighter: sword and board, defensive style. Subclass: cavalier 2 attacks doing 1d8+5
Monk: using a longsword 2 handed (kensei or tasha?), no ki spent, 3 attacks doing 1d10+5

Am I missing something?

Cavalier bonuses to reaction attacks? 10th level they get more reaction attacks, allowing them to more reliably make 3 attacks per round instead of 2
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think the better route is to focus on the Monk's controller abilities. To me that is a niche they used in 4e and in 3e (with various grapple builds) and I think its a good way to go. At the end of the day, what differentiates the monk from the fighter, barb, paladin is as a "martial controller". Stunning Blow is one tool in that arsenal, and the open hand monk gets several others.

I think you could continue to look at that path for ways to buff the monk that are not in direct competition with other martials, and helps the monk to carve its unique niche.
This is my recommendation, it was something I thought they should have focused a little more on in 4e too (though the 4e monk is pretty close to the martial controller). Slowing moves and proning moves and similar can be configured cheaper/more reliable than a stun, as it seems right now the 5e fighter with his multi-attacks can do martial throws proning enemies better than the monk.
 

TheOneGargoyle

Explorer
I think the better route is to focus on the Monk's controller abilities. To me that is a niche they used in 4e and in 3e (with various grapple builds) and I think its a good way to go. At the end of the day, what differentiates the monk from the fighter, barb, paladin is as a "martial controller". Stunning Blow is one tool in that arsenal, and the open hand monk gets several others.

I think you could continue to look at that path for ways to buff the monk that are not in direct competition with other martials, and helps the monk to carve its unique niche.

This is my recommendation, it was something I thought they should have focused a little more on in 4e too (though the 4e monk is pretty close to the martial controller). Slowing moves and proning moves and similar can be configured cheaper/more reliable than a stun, as it seems right now the 5e fighter with his multi-attacks can do martial throws proning enemies better than the monk.

In 4e they had the idea of primary and secondary roles. I have no issue with monks being considered to have a secondary role as a controller, but strongly believe that most players (def myself included) would not want people trying to change monks primary role into a controller.

You couldn't make them good enough at it to be a primary controller (compare: wizard) without them being unrecognisable as a monk any more. Perhaps 1 or 2 subclasses that focussed on this side would appeal to some players, to me that would be sufficient.

Monk DPS Flurry.png


To me, this right here is the important elephant in the room to address (credit to Nokrim for this).

Monks dmg output flatlines and other classes continue to scale. By L11 they fall below baseline and they never recover.

No focussing on their controller sides is going to address this, nor should it try in my book.

Monks need real damage boosts for T3 and T4 play.
 
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clearstream

(He, Him)
I don't see a feature called "Distant Strike" for the Fey Wanderer, so I can't comment on that. But I did consider the Stalker's Flurry.

The issue I think is that Stalker's Flurry does raise your average damage over a combat, by turning misses into hits, but it doesn't raise your potential damage per turn, because if you don't miss, Stalker's Flurry does nothing. More consistency, but not more damage.

OH WAIT, you meant for the Horizon Walker. Okay, yeah, If you attack two different creatures, you can make a third attack against a third creature. This is more potential damage per turn, but as you said it is pretty conditional. It only works when there are three creatures you can attack within range, and it forces you to spread your damage, which other types of boosts generally don't do. So, I'd say it's impact is pretty small overall, but it is a damage increase for the ranger at level 11.
Oh, yeah, Horizon Walker, sorry. They're conflated in my mind because if you think about Dreadful Strikes (and Volley/Whirlwind Attack FTM) you can see that the designers want to reward rangers for attacking multiple targets. The problem is that it is conditional (you need to have multiple suitable targets in the combat) and goes against basic mechanical efficiency (reduce incoming attacks by dropping whole combatants, rather than wounding lots of them).

But they don't, or at least some do but others don't.

Let's look at the Gloomstalker again. I'm going to pair out spells for a moment and just focus on features.

Level 5: 2d8+10 (longbow, 20 Dex) Level 5 First Turn of Combat: 4d8+15
Level 11: 2d8+10 Level 11 First Turn of Combat: 4d8+15

Yes, Stalker's flurry means that when you calculate the average over the combat, damage has increased, but it hasn't increased because you are doing more damage, it has increased because you are missing less.

Meanwhile, a Paladin looks like this

Level 5: 2d8+14 (Longsword, Strength 20, Dueling style)
Level 11: 4d8+14 (Add in Improved Divine Smite)

Where as the Gloomstalker is a 1-1 match, that paladin has added 2d8 or 9 damage to their potential for the round. All Paladins.


IF we look at (I have Xanathar's open so flip...) The Drunken Monk their level 11 ability is to spend 2 ki to cancel disadvantage. Again, this will increase the average over a combat (in theory) by making you miss less, but it doesn't actually improve the potential damage. For the Monk, that looks like this

Level 5: 2d8+2d6+20 (Staff, 20 dex, Flurry of Blows)
Level 11: 4d8+20 (martial arts die increase)

And the difference here is quite literally 2 pts per average.

And if we look at the Rogue
Level 5: 1d8+3d6+5 (Rapier, 20 Dex, Sneak attack)
Level 11: 1d8+6d6+5

So, I think the Ranger and Monk might get a variety of abilities, some increase accuracy, some conditionally increase potential damage, but it certainly isn't consistent, and it isn't really as much as you see in the other classes.
What you are describing is a picture obscured by two things: attempts at diversity in line with class approaches (so rangers and monks often get defence where other get offence), and design errors.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
This is my recommendation, it was something I thought they should have focused a little more on in 4e too (though the 4e monk is pretty close to the martial controller). Slowing moves and proning moves and similar can be configured cheaper/more reliable than a stun, as it seems right now the 5e fighter with his multi-attacks can do martial throws proning enemies better than the monk.
There's a lively debate to be had on the monk's anchoring mechanical approach. Some say controller. I feel that is too wide, and believe the most fruitful direction would be more narrow control like the Open Hand ability to deny an opponent their reaction.

Generally, I see monk as a kiting martial, switching between attack and defence and at all times aiming to avoid being hit.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
In 4e they had the idea of primary and secondary roles. I have no issue with monks being considered to have a secondary role as a controller, but strongly believe that most players (def myself included) would not want people trying to change monks primary role into a controller.

You couldn't make them good enough at it to be a primary controller (compare: wizard) without them being unrecognisable as a monk any more. Perhaps 1 or 2 subclasses that focussed on this side would appeal to some players, to me that would be sufficient.

View attachment 146221

To me, this right here is the important elephant in the room to address (credit to Nokrim for this).

Monks dmg output flatlines and other classes continue to scale. By L11 they fall below baseline and they never recover.

No focussing on their controller sides is going to address this, nor should it try in my book.

Monks need real damage boosts for T3 and T4 play.
Looking at this I see that I should have said - all classes bar rogues - have very steppy DPR increases (notably at 5th and 11th level).

The TWF rogue exemplifies the average DPR progression that you see laid bare in the DMG - in Creating a Spell. You use TWF to increase the likelihood of hitting with at least one sneak attack per turn (at the cost of cunning action, which is disappointing in terms of what one might have hoped from the designers). You land on 3d6 at start of tier 2, and 6d6 at start of tier 3, but the dice flow in as half-level roundup.

I think the designers had a single backbone, that they then branched into probably three basic approaches, and diversified from there.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
There's a lively debate to be had on the monk's anchoring mechanical approach. Some say controller. I feel that is too wide, and believe the most fruitful direction would be more narrow control like the Open Hand ability to deny an opponent their reaction.
I missed this reference at first ... but in order to enable the kiting to service your ability the denial needs to be able to used well as part of the movement

In 4e a monk had a number of moves where they were able to attack while long ranged shifting effectively attacking on the run while disengaged in 5e terms.
Generally, I see monk as a kiting martial, switching between attack and defence and at all times aiming to avoid being hit.
Kiting? hmmm the way I see it is only Kiting where they have "real" incentive to attack you (and you can resist well).

In 4e there were swordmages who specialized in a form of kiting ... I have even heard people reflavor swordmages as sword monks. They incentivised attacking themselves frustrated your attacks on others then moved away (and if you caught them they had extremely good defenses) ... the monk doesn't seem to have tools for that kind of kiting

Fast movement does not make you like a ranged character firing from the back row who won't be targeted while still getting to attack. Basically it seems if the monk is "defending" themselves by movement they arent attacking then their defense is like watching. (reducing their effectiveness even more) or a defense based on ki expense has the same problem reducing offense which we know fades badly already on the monk

In 4e they had the idea of primary and secondary roles. I have no issue with monks being considered to have a secondary role as a controller, but strongly believe that most players (def myself included) would not want people trying to change monks primary role into a controller.
You couldn't make them good enough at it to be a primary controller (compare: wizard) without them being unrecognisable as a monk any more. Perhaps 1 or 2 subclasses that focussed on this side would appeal to some players, to me that would be sufficient.
The wizard in 4e can be built to be a multi-target striker without too much work? And that is kind of how 5e tries to do the roles. As this is not 4e that ability to swivel between two in 5e is exemplified by I can spend my resource on stuns or flurries.. Stuns however are a really resistable. And have you seen Jackie chan characters fight its all about manipulating and impairing the enemy not killing better than a sword blow.
To me, this right here is the important elephant in the room to address (credit to Nokrim for this).
Monks dmg output flatlines and other classes continue to scale. By L11 they fall below baseline and they never recover.
yup they should be capable of match up if they are played that way, note the wizard in 5e is well above that base line AND a controller at the same time by making choices.
No focussing on their controller sides is going to address this, nor should it try in my book.
Monks need real damage boosts for T3 and T4 play.
the guys with the lightest and softest weapons being seen as primarily raw damage dealing is kind of LOL to me... but yes upping damage in the latter tiers should not be a question.(but it does not make them interesting or unique), and martial throws and slowing pressure point attacks and the like are thematic to me, for some reason the monk cannot do that.
 
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clearstream

(He, Him)
I missed this reference at first ... but in order to enable the kiting to service your ability the denial needs to be able to used well as part of the movement
Absolutely agree. The concept for monk is stymied by the action economy. The designers ought to have been more generous in their action-costings, for example imagine PD cost either no action or a reaction. Instead of seeing it very little used, one would see it used all the time, and TCoE options like the ki-fueled attack would make more sense.

In 4e a monk had a number of moves where they were able to attack while long ranged shifting effectively attacking on the run while disengaged in 5e terms.

Kiting? hmmm the way I see it is only Kiting where they have "real" incentive to attack you (and you can resist well).
Again agree. Monk is gently slapping you so easily ignored. They need more sting in order to make kiting matter. That said, by kiting I also mean to include where you deal damage and are not attacked back, due to movement or some other defence.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Oh, yeah, Horizon Walker, sorry. They're conflated in my mind because if you think about Dreadful Strikes (and Volley/Whirlwind Attack FTM) you can see that the designers want to reward rangers for attacking multiple targets. The problem is that it is conditional (you need to have multiple suitable targets in the combat) and goes against basic mechanical efficiency (reduce incoming attacks by dropping whole combatants, rather than wounding lots of them).


What you are describing is a picture obscured by two things: attempts at diversity in line with class approaches (so rangers and monks often get defence where other get offence), and design errors.

I can definetly see this as a result of attempting to diversify the classes, but the problem is that, frankly, these are the only two classes to be "diverse" in this respect. At least that has happened in a noticeable way.

Also, at this point, since we are talking Subclasses, there is an added wrinkle that the subclasses are getting diversified, so some subclasses get a defensive ability, some an accuracy ability, some a multi-attack ability, some a utility or debuff ability. This leads to the power being even more variable.

Just take these three abilities under Rangers

Gloom Stalker gets an accuracy ability to retake a missed attack
Horizon Walker gets a multi-attack ability to hit 3 targets
The Monster Slayer gets 1/SR Counterspell.

Only one directly improves damage for the turn, only two of them improve average damage at all.

Also, with the Monk's abilities in particular, they tend to cost Ki.

Drunkard's Luck is a highly situational Ki costing ability that can be used to prevent a penalty.
Sharpen the Blade is ki cost for accuracy and Damage (but low damage. The Paladin adding a 1d8 to every attack is adding 4.5 average, the BEST Sharpen the Blade can do is adding +3)
Searing Sunburst doesn't cost ki for the 2d6 AOE, but it is a full action and low damage for 11th level, meanwhile getting it more powerful... costs Ki
Tranquility no Ki, but a HIGHLY situational defensive ability (1/day sanctuary that activates at start of the day)
Cloak of Shadows, no Ki but action to become invisible in dim light is utility


None of this really... a lot of these aren't even very well thought of abilities, are they?
 

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