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

I think having their stuff base their usage on x amount of times/proficiency slot, ala the Dragon Aspect Monk, and then using Ki points would be a good thing to apply as well.
 

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kapars

Explorer
I agree that Stunning Strike should be nerfed because it is at best situationally useful yet occupies a lot of the power budget of the class. The designers seem to be terrified of it. In terms of making it better I’d consider the following options:
1. Revert to the playtest where the attempt triggered on a critical hit. It would become quite niche but make space for other features to improve.
2. Make it one attempt per turn. Similar to 1 but less rare and consumes resources. Not my favorite
3. Keep it as is but have it have a similar effect to the Slow spell. No save. More frequent and less encounter breaking
4. Combine 1+3.

I actually like 4 because you can flurry to increase the chances, some DMs don’t get nervous about their encounter balance and you are not consuming yet more resources that you need to play your sub-class. There will be an outcry for the change from Stun to Slow but that can be reduced by still letting you spend a Ki to try for the CON save. Rare though not impossible, much less of a trap, makes it seem more fair when it occurs to those not running the math.

The playtest had a lot more of this approach of having features that work without Ki but can be enhanced by spending it. Something got lost before the 2014 version.
 

jgsugden

Legend
...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...
I believe this has been answered several times, but: The monk is a highly mobile control focused PC melee class. It is intended that they'd use their mobility and versatility to engage key targets in a battle and shut them down.

In my experiences, the (mid level and above) monk will get to a key bad guy in Rd 1 and engage them, locking them down with a stun. While they can take about one less hit than other classes, they do have defensive abilities that make up for that lack in hps, and by mid-levels are often competitive in AC with non-shield melee classes.

The monks I have played have been very effective at these tactics, especially as the levels advance up. There have been battles where they've been unable to do their shtick (outside versus a flying dragon, for example), but every class has battles where they are less effective (wizard versus beholder, archers against highly mobile foes that get in their face, etc...)
 

Undrave

Hero
I believe this has been answered several times, but: The monk is a highly mobile control focused PC melee class. It is intended that they'd use their mobility and versatility to engage key targets in a battle and shut them down.

In my experiences, the (mid level and above) monk will get to a key bad guy in Rd 1 and engage them, locking them down with a stun. While they can take about one less hit than other classes, they do have defensive abilities that make up for that lack in hps, and by mid-levels are often competitive in AC with non-shield melee classes.

The monks I have played have been very effective at these tactics, especially as the levels advance up. There have been battles where they've been unable to do their shtick (outside versus a flying dragon, for example), but every class has battles where they are less effective (wizard versus beholder, archers against highly mobile foes that get in their face, etc...)
and in my experience, what happens is that you waste two or three Ki points failing to get a Stun, maybe even doing a flurry of blow for another shot at it, doing about 15 pts of damage total, and, whether you get the stun or not, you end up stuck behind enemy lines where any doofus can land a hit and take off 2/3 of your meager life points. Then you have to waste a turn limping out of there.

It sounds cool in concept but in reality it doesn't work.

'Lock down one guy' is NOT a real party role. It's not something a mobile skirmisher should do! That's more of a defender's schtick.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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
I think I'd go with being able to regain half your ki as an action, proficiency bonus per day, instead of increasing the size of the pool.

As for the HP issue, I do two things.

1. Deflect Missiles becomes Deflect Attacks. Works against any attack. Full stop. If a melee attack is reduced to 0 damage, you can make one unarmed strike as part of the same reaction by spending 1 ki. If a spell attack is reduced to 0 damage, your next successful unarmed strike before the end of your next turn deals extra damage of the same type equal to your unarmed strike damage die plus your wisdom modifier.

2. When you use Patient Defense, you gain THP equal to your unarmed strike damage die plus your wisdom modifier, and if you make an attack as a reaction before the start of your next turn, you can instead use your flurry of blows feature without spending ki. (this means that if your subclass boosts FoB in any way, that boost comes into play with reaction attacks, and it also makes patient defense synergize with Deflect Attacks.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
and in my experience, what happens is that you waste two or three Ki points failing to get a Stun, maybe even doing a flurry of blow for another shot at it, doing about 15 pts of damage total, and, whether you get the stun or not, you end up stuck behind enemy lines where any doofus can land a hit and take off 2/3 of your meager life points. Then you have to waste a turn limping out of there.

It sounds cool in concept but in reality it doesn't work.

'Lock down one guy' is NOT a real party role. It's not something a mobile skirmisher should do! That's more of a defender's schtick.
I think your experience is non-standard, judging by the fact that there doesn't seem to be anywhere near the same kind of dissatisfaction with the monk as there has been with the ranger and sorcerer. In fact, the elemental monk stands out as the only subclass that people who aren't into CharOp forum discussions rag on, IME.

It certainly doesn't match any experience I've had in my own games, or watching other people's games.

hell, I rarely use stun with my Eberron monk. He's collected several ways to stack damage onto every attack over the 10 levels he's seen, so he focuses on dealing damage, harrying enemies the other's can't get to as easily, and doing things like teleporting in with blessing of the raven queen (30ft teleport, resist all damage until start of next turn), patient defense, cobalt soul counter attack when someone misses, and 2+ enemies are tied up trying to mess with him.
 

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?

That’s not a question I even ask, and feels like a carryover from a previous edition. In 5e I don’t think in terms of striker, controller, etc., and I don’t believe the designers do, either.

It’s role, it’s purpose, is to allow people to play a martial artist. It’s as simple as that.

Now, I’ll grant that it may contribute less to a party than some other classes, and there are things about the class I would change, but that’s an issue with execution not concept.
 

Yeah I could get behind changing Stunning Strike to proc on a crit. I would keep the save, with a reduced effect on a save, and/or a more potent result on a fail.

Then buff the class, including an increased Ki pool, without worrying about SS spamming.
 



Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
That’s not a question I even ask, and feels like a carryover from a previous edition. In 5e I don’t think in terms of striker, controller, etc., and I don’t believe the designers do, either.
Gygax introduced the concept of the Defender in 1e just not the word.... one can pretend not to notice them throughout D&D but its not very discerning.
 

kapars

Explorer
A common milestone for effective damage is the Warlock Eldritch Blast + Agonizing Blast + Hex combination. At level 11 this yields 42 points of damage not modified for accuracy. Most Monks can get to about 38 and that’s with spending 1 Ki per for Flurry of Blows each turn. Once Ki is spent they fall to 32.5. Kensei and Astral Self can spend Ki to squeak over to 42.5 while they have Ki to spare.

Mercy is unique in that it can get to 45.5 at 16 WIS due to how their level 11 ability and hand of Harm works. They get to inflict a debuff and can sustain this for 11 turns per short rest. They also have a healing ability that can help others and bonus skills that synergies with the important ability scores. I think they are the benchmark one should aim for when homebrewing and you don’t see as many complaints about their performance.

Given that they add about raw 7.5 damage to the Monks output that gives you an indicator how much help the class needs in its Striking role. Their efficiency with Ki also suggests that the sub-class should either add abilities that cost no Ki, X uses without Ki or modify existing Ki based abilities like Flurry of blows.

The Sun Soul as home brew example would benefit from having Radiant Sun Bolt work like Martial Arts (qualify for BA attack without Ki) but allow 1 Ki to be spent to add Martial Arts + WIS radiant damage and improve to inflict Blinded at Level 6. They would do this as part of Flurry at 11 instead of the garbage they get. They’re already sacrificing damage to use Radiant Sun bolt but Blindness is debilitating enough to likely require a saving throw so I’d say that needs a CON save - unless the hit was a critical hit. They also get the defense of being at range.

I’m not saying every sub-class should work like Mercy but homebrewing off Mercy may be the best guideline until the designers do something to the base class.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Every .... single .... time .... I see this title, I read it as .... BUFF MONKS.

And I'm all like ....

bolo-yeung.gif


Yes?
 

kapars

Explorer
I think your experience is non-standard, judging by the fact that there doesn't seem to be anywhere near the same kind of dissatisfaction with the monk as there has been with the ranger and sorcerer. In fact, the elemental monk stands out as the only subclass that people who aren't into CharOp forum discussions rag on, IME.

It certainly doesn't match any experience I've had in my own games, or watching other people's games.

hell, I rarely use stun with my Eberron monk. He's collected several ways to stack damage onto every attack over the 10 levels he's seen, so he focuses on dealing damage, harrying enemies the other's can't get to as easily, and doing things like teleporting in with blessing of the raven queen (30ft teleport, resist all damage until start of next turn), patient defense, cobalt soul counter attack when someone misses, and 2+ enemies are tied up trying to mess with him.
I play on a Westmarches with 1000s of players on it. It’s the least frequently played class and while those (30 odd I think) that play it enjoy it for its flavor I promise you that each and every one of us wishes for more HP, more Ki and less restrictive mechanics for armor, multi-classing etc. I think that’s a meaningful enough sample size to suggest help is needed.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
1. increase hit die to d10. d8 feels a little low for melee class with low armor.
As a note from actual experience, I've played a Drunken Master monk up to level 13. The hitpoints haven't been a huge problem for me because of the subclass feature giving me a free disengage with Flurry of Blows. This generally allows me to be out of melee range by the time whatever I'm hitting might want to hit back.
 

Undrave

Hero
I think your experience is non-standard, judging by the fact that there doesn't seem to be anywhere near the same kind of dissatisfaction with the monk as there has been with the ranger and sorcerer. In fact, the elemental monk stands out as the only subclass that people who aren't into CharOp forum discussions rag on, IME.

It certainly doesn't match any experience I've had in my own games, or watching other people's games.

hell, I rarely use stun with my Eberron monk. He's collected several ways to stack damage onto every attack over the 10 levels he's seen, so he focuses on dealing damage, harrying enemies the other's can't get to as easily, and doing things like teleporting in with blessing of the raven queen (30ft teleport, resist all damage until start of next turn), patient defense, cobalt soul counter attack when someone misses, and 2+ enemies are tied up trying to mess with him.
My experience is that the Monk has a bunch of cool stuff it can do (Stunning Strike and your spell-like subclass ability) but not the ressources to do them often enough. The Monk keeps having to spend Ki to catch up to what other characters do at will and when you run out of Ki you're pretty much the worst character in the party. All the while having to build for MAD if they want any good results. And having bad HP for a melee class.

I'm sorry but Flurry of Blow is not good enough to be worth 1 Ki, and the Rogue can disengage as a bonus action so why not the Monk?
 



I'd keep the conditions of needing to attack with a monk weapon or unarmed strike, but other wise? Nah. I don't think it's any better than Sneak Attack and the Rogue can do it all day long as long as the conditions are met.
Yep, agreed. Though then I would wonder if the current ki pool would be too large with not having to spend it on the flurry? :unsure:
 

Undrave

Hero
Yep, agreed. Though then I would wonder if the current ki pool would be too large with not having to spend it on the flurry? :unsure:
Nah. The issue would be more of a lack of action economy to spend your ki. It might actually be better if Flurry of Blow was just an extra unarmed attack as part of the attack action so long as you use a Monk Weapon/Unarmed Strike. Then you could spend your Ki on your bonus action stuff if you don't use the Martial Arts bonus action (which I would keep in this situation). By freeing the Ki and Bonus Action I think the defensive options would see more use. Also put HD at D10.
 
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