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


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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.
To the extent what you are saying is accurate, if monks need to be buffed I’d rather find ways to make those circumstances more common, rather than (solely) buff damage and AC.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
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.
I differentiate between insufficiently good, and what they seem intended to do. For example, the accuracy retake strikes me as an important piece of design. It attempts to increase damage expectation without increasing maximum damage. It's worded to work on top of advantage. "Only two" is deceptive: of all ranger 11th-level sub-class features, only one doesn't increase DPR expectation. That one is a defense, in line with what I described as the third approach (first = I get more attacks, second = I do more damage per attack, third = I sometimes get defenses.)

It's noticeable that the two classes that take the third approach - monk and ranger - are consistently down-rated by players. In part I believe that is because defenses (and buffs) are consistently undervalued... especially in whiteroom analyses.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
To the extent what you are saying is accurate, if monks need to be buffed I’d rather find ways to make those circumstances more common, rather than (solely) buff damage and AC.

While fair, making a 3-D battle space where people can be flung off cliffs boosts other people (the Warlock with repelling blast can potentially hit 3 people of the edge without needing to grapple, the Moon Druid can wildshape and fly, ect ect) and is also a double edged sword towards harming their allies.

I understand the desire not to just boost damage (I don't think many people are considering AC) but there aren't a lot of options for giving monks more circumstantial bonuses that will be effective in the majority of combats. It would have to be part of their normal attack action, and if you do something like add a debuff status effect... most of those would be too devastating to do at-will and the ones that aren't are not terribly effective most of the time.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I differentiate between insufficiently good, and what they seem intended to do. For example, the accuracy retake strikes me as an important piece of design. It attempts to increase damage expectation without increasing maximum damage. It's worded to work on top of advantage. "Only two" is deceptive: of all ranger 11th-level sub-class features, only one doesn't increase DPR expectation. That one is a defense, in line with what I described as the third approach (first = I get more attacks, second = I do more damage per attack, third = I sometimes get defenses.)

It's noticeable that the two classes that take the third approach - monk and ranger - are consistently down-rated by players. In part I believe that is because defenses (and buffs) are consistently undervalued... especially in whiteroom analyses.

See, but the "without increasing maximum damage" is the point we are saying is actually part of the problem. Because around level 11 the majority of classes DO increase their maximum damage. Every spellcaster gets a boost to cantrips and new spell levels, fighters get three attacks, rogue have constantly scaling sneak, paladins get Improved Divine Smite. Everyone is getting a spike, so it ends up noticeable that Monks and Rangers generally don't.


And I wouldn't go too heavy on the "people consistently undervalue" stuff. The Paladin gets +2d8 damage every single turn at will with no research expenditure. The Monster Slayer monk gets a single counterspell chance once per short rest. One of these is clearly far more consistently useful in combat than the other, just from the resources angle. The Drunk Monk can spend 2 ki to remove disadvantage, which first requires you to be at disadvantage, and 2 Ki is decently significant for the goal of restoring you to your default state. It isn't just a combat ability, I get that, but part of this realization is that most everyone else is getting not just a combat ability, but a damaging combat ability, around this level.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
See, but the "without increasing maximum damage" is the point we are saying is actually part of the problem. Because around level 11 the majority of classes DO increase their maximum damage. Every spellcaster gets a boost to cantrips and new spell levels, fighters get three attacks, rogue have constantly scaling sneak, paladins get Improved Divine Smite. Everyone is getting a spike, so it ends up noticeable that Monks and Rangers generally don't.
Everyone gets a spike, save rogues because their progression is more continual.

And I wouldn't go too heavy on the "people consistently undervalue" stuff. The Paladin gets +2d8 damage every single turn at will with no research expenditure. The Monster Slayer monk gets a single counterspell chance once per short rest. One of these is clearly far more consistently useful in combat than the other, just from the resources angle. The Drunk Monk can spend 2 ki to remove disadvantage, which first requires you to be at disadvantage, and 2 Ki is decently significant for the goal of restoring you to your default state. It isn't just a combat ability, I get that, but part of this realization is that most everyone else is getting not just a combat ability, but a damaging combat ability, around this level.
Well, in most whiteroom analysis, defenses do not feature. Incoming damage is disregarded. The whole focus is on calculating DPR. Additionally, the mathematical value of a defense (and buffs for that matter) is often not visible enough at the table. On the one hand.

On the other hand, I kind of agree. The designers have proven better able to craft more effective offences than they are defenses. Consider your argument about monster slayer versus paladin. In a sense, what you are saying is that the designers have given the monster slayer a less strong feature than they have given to paladin. The slayer feature will be clutch sometimes, but a lot of the time not matter. It's even been pre-nerfed by limiting its use to once per couple of combats.

One hardly ever reads player excitement about defensive abilities. They are undervalued. Buffs too, but not to the same extent.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Everyone gets a spike, save rogues because their progression is more continual.


Well, in most whiteroom analysis, defenses do not feature. Incoming damage is disregarded. The whole focus is on calculating DPR. Additionally, the mathematical value of a defense (and buffs for that matter) is often not visible enough at the table. On the one hand.

On the other hand, I kind of agree. The designers have proven better able to craft more effective offences than they are defenses. Consider your argument about monster slayer versus paladin. In a sense, what you are saying is that the designers have given the monster slayer a less strong feature than they have given to paladin. The slayer feature will be clutch sometimes, but a lot of the time not matter. It's even been pre-nerfed by limiting its use to once per couple of combats.

One hardly ever reads player excitement about defensive abilities. They are undervalued. Buffs too, but not to the same extent.

I agree, but I also think that is because consistent defensive abilities are... hard. There aren't a lot of dials that are easy to turn without overpowering things.
 


xadd

Villager
Divorce Stunning Strike from Ki. Make it usable 1+Proficiency per short rest.
this is reminiscent of people complaining about stunning strike on reddit. >_< just increase the total amount of ki if your going to over complicate things and add something like that
 
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xadd

Villager
in my personal opinion a way to start fixing monks is by looking at what other classes have. Im not even saying bump total hp. 1. making diamond soul a level 6 ability. aura of protection is still superior. make death save and rerolling the level 14 aspect of it. 2. this is a key feature here; make bonus action punch and flurry not have to be connected to an attack action and be used independently. 3. make an insignia of claws that scale to +3 for christs sake. 4. fighting style at level 2, and version of defence for unarmored. 5. make step of wind just double your speed and jump distance. 6. dex jump. 7. increase ma die. 8. more asi as getting ac up gunna consume everything you got. finally make flurry of blows scale to 4 punches at 11 and normal ba 2 punches at 11. (and maybe increase total ki) there is more that could be added but with these this will at least put monk on the map for being amazing skirmishers with emergency tankyness
 

xadd

Villager
i honestly think wotc needs to run their naughty word through heavy statistics and thought experiments before publishing in 5.5e
 

Noobykid

First Post
3 simple buffs that I feel make the monk playable compared to other martial classes and still feel very monk like
1) the monks unarmored defense adds a reaction bonus to AC equal to dex mod for melee attacks similar to defensive duelist but no weapon needed. This is needed because monk have poor defense: low ac for melee, low HP, low con due to being mad, and scales so slowly. This helps the monks poor defense in early lvs and gives them an useful reaction ability that will see play unlike deflected missile, attacks of opportunity, and slow fall that hardly come into play and give a small boost to defenses while ac scales with asi. This should compensate for shield restriction that no other ac calculation has.

2) stunning strike deals an additional martial die on a save. I don’t think this is over power since its just d6 at lv 5, monk don’t get enough ki, and will apply to 2/3 of stunning strikes on average. This way it less disappointing when they pass the strong con save monsters normally have.

3) ki empower strike needs to scale +1 at lv 9
+2 at lv 12. This is needed in a class that lacks damage and is pigeon hole into unarmed fighting. The monk is self reliant. Wizard of the coast hate monks since they don’t provide support for them in the magic item and feat department it took near the end of 5e to get one and is on the weak side compare to Tasha where the I team give + to hit and damage if in weapon form; what miss apportunity to also increase unarmed fighting on a class where it lacks help and damage.
 

FantasySciFi

Villager
I want to test if giving the Tough Feat at 1st level and Mobile Feat at 3rd level goes some way towards overcoming the Hitpoint disparity with other martial classes and the utterly terrible Ki pool.

(Seriously WOTC ranp up the Ki pool with levels, it's a joke)

I've seen a monk use Step of the wind ONCE in all the years I've DMed simply because the Ki pool is so low and using Ki to replicate the Rogue's ability to double dash any damned time they like is ridiculous.

I have already established a Homebrew rule that as long as their Monk character has at least 1 Ki point they can use Step of The Wind without expending any Ki points and this has helped a bit, so I'm going to play test the bonus Feats to see if it brings them close to other classes
 

TheOneGargoyle

Explorer
I want to test if giving the Tough Feat at 1st level and Mobile Feat at 3rd level goes some way towards overcoming the Hitpoint disparity with other martial classes and the utterly terrible Ki pool.
I'd certainly be interested in hearing how this goes.
Honestly I think it can't be solved by just boosting the number of ki points, because so long as there's any level of scarcity of ki, other things will always be higher value than SotW and the opportunity cost just won't be worth it.
I'm starting to come to the conclusion that they have to be separate resource pools (or no resource cost at all other than actions).
 

kapars

Explorer
I agree that the class should move to a d10 hit die. I see the opinions that they are supposed to be skirmishing but the only way to effectively do that is by using Ki or Feat tax by taking the Mobile feat. The moment you use Ki for Step of the Wind or Patient Defense you fall far behind in terms of your damage contribution and Mobile works but limits the types of characters you can build.

If you look at the expected incoming damage on page 274 of the DMG and you apply the average to hit bonus and you compare it to where unarmored defense is in terms of progression you see that often the Monk will not be able to much incoming damage if they are present to take it and do not have Patient defense active.

A CR5 monster attacking a Level 5 monk, is doing 35.5 damage on average and hitting with a +6. A Monk that increased its Dexterity at level 4 and is using point buy or the standard array likely has 18 DEX and 17 AC (+4 from DEX and +3 from WIS) at this point in time. This means that the monster hits on 11 and up and has a 50% chance of hitting the monk. The monk likely having a 14 CON ( having to dump all abilities that make them relevant in other areas of play) on average has 38 hp at this point. This means the monster does 17.75 damage to the monk on average and the Monk can survive 2.14 CR 5 attacks. This is the average however and it is quite possible it does enough damage to knock out that 38hp Monk by doing slightly above average (7% above) damage for the round. On average we see the Monk surviving 1 or 2 CR5 attacks at most.

Compare this with a Fighter wearing a Splint Armor and a shield (the only fighter with comparable DPR contribution) that has 19 AC and gets hit on 13 and up and therefore gets hit 40% of the time. This means a monster does 14.2 damage on average to the fighter. They likely have 16 CON which yields 49 HP at this level on average and can survive 3.45 attacks from CR5 monsters before going unconscious on average. In terms of a single attack or multi-attack from a creature they would need to take 49 damage in a single turn which is 38% over average damage and far less likely.

Another point to consider is that if you are Skirmishing someone else has to be the main tank and they are now taking more hits due to not sharing the load with you. This causes the issue of your presence not filling a main party role and therefore forcing someone else to take a specific role since you do not have the skill expertise of the Rogue to fill the skills role, not the stat alignment to fill the face role and per the analysis above cannot adequately fill the tank role. This means that you need to look at damage and control roles and that's where the issues around stunning strike and the damage cliff at level 11 become very relevant.

Just this change would already change the conversation a lot but note that by itself it is not sufficient. The monk is still 2AC behind where they'd need to fill a tank role and probably 1 AC behind where they need for at least an off-tank role. This suggests the problem is both HP and AC and the way that AC is calculated since you cannot pick CON over WIS.
 
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jgsugden

Legend
List the classes that can force an enemy to make 4 different saving throws (or be stunned) in the same round?

The monk is fine as it is. I'd have given it an ASI at 6th in addition to the current abilities, and most of the subclasses could use a redesign, but monks are highly effective, especially at high levels, and especially when facing enemies with Legendary Resistance, etc...
 

List the classes that can force an enemy to make 4 different saving throws (or be stunned) in the same round?

The monk is fine as it is. I'd have given it an ASI at 6th in addition to the current abilities, and most of the subclasses could use a redesign, but monks are highly effective, especially at high levels, and especially when facing enemies with Legendary Resistance, etc...

They're a one trick pony. They will burn all their ki to get the stunning strike though, and that's it. And because that one ability is so insanely good, it is a waste to use ki for anything else.

I'd nerf the stunning strike (one attempt per turn?) and buff the monk otherwise. This would encourage more varied playstyle.
 

Undrave

Hero
Have we gotten news from OP about implementing their suggest changes?

List the classes that can force an enemy to make 4 different saving throws (or be stunned) in the same round?

The monk is fine as it is. I'd have given it an ASI at 6th in addition to the current abilities, and most of the subclasses could use a redesign, but monks are highly effective, especially at high levels, and especially when facing enemies with Legendary Resistance, etc...
Highly effective at WHAT? I still have no idea what the designers intended the Monk to actually DO. What's his role in a party? What does he bring to the table? Whatever it is, it doesn't seem to survive contact with the table. Like their silly ideas that people wouldn't plan ahead for their subclasses. The Monk isn't a class, it's a pile of legacy features the designers were nostalgic for.
They're a one trick pony. They will burn all their ki to get the stunning strike though, and that's it. And because that one ability is so insanely good, it is a waste to use ki for anything else.

I'd nerf the stunning strike (one attempt per turn?) and buff the monk otherwise. This would encourage more varied playstyle.
Exactly. Why ever use your cool subclass abilities or even try to survive with Perfect Defense if I could instead spend on friggin' Stunning Strike? And as cool as Stunning Strike is, it very rarely lands at all. All it usually does is burn through legendary resistance and that's it.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Exactly. Why ever use your cool subclass abilities or even try to survive with Perfect Defense if I could instead spend on friggin' Stunning Strike? And as cool as Stunning Strike is, it very rarely lands at all. All it usually does is burn through legendary resistance and that's it.
with 1 in 3 chance on average of even getting stunning strike to work its ahem not that cool to me.
 

Undrave

Hero
with 1 in 3 chance on average of even getting stunning strike to work its ahem not that cool to me.
Yup. You're either facing things that are not worth stunning, or things that WOULD be cool to stun but they have great saves, either due to stats or legendary resistance.

Maybe if I got my Ki refunded if it failed I'd be more likely to use them?
 

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