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


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OB1

Jedi Master
Instead of 2 attacks as a bonus action ?

Although this would free up your BA to use PD or SotW, wouldn't this put monks even further behind in the damage dept than they already are ?
You can still make another attack as a bonus action. What this does is give you the option to still get three attacks when you use a bonus action for something else like patient defense.
 


kapars

Explorer
I like this refund idea. I'll try it out in the playtesting this weekend :)
Well since you’re playtest try regaining Proficiency Bonus worth Ki as an Action spending a hit die or Martial Arts Ki as an Action spending a hit die. If we had this as an optional class feature once or twice per day instead of the Healing option in Tasha’s it would’ve helped a lot.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.
Those are different concerns from what was described in the post I was replying to.

I agree the monk needs more ki. (And more magic items, but that’s just bc it’s boring to not have any) Yhat doesn’t make what they described accurate to most people’s experience.

as for multiclassing, I’ve multiclassed about half of the monks I’ve played, and seen many more in play, so I’m not sure what you mean. Druid, Ranger, rogue, fighter, I even did a monk/wizard that was a lot of fun, and had wild AC in Bladesong, Shadowblade, Hunter’s mark from Fey touched, and lots of fun tricks.

My Cobalt Soul/Inquisitive Rogue is one of my favorite characters, and I miss playing my Open Hand Monk/Swashbuckler Rogue.

The class has some pain points, but it’s far from ineffective.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
As I said upthread, we have recently decided to give the Monk an action Ki regen PB/LR, and changed delfect arrows to deflect attacks and patient defense to also give THP. It’s not like I don’t see the pain points.
 

kapars

Explorer
Those are different concerns from what was described in the post I was replying to.

I agree the monk needs more ki. (And more magic items, but that’s just bc it’s boring to not have any) Yhat doesn’t make what they described accurate to most people’s experience.

as for multiclassing, I’ve multiclassed about half of the monks I’ve played, and seen many more in play, so I’m not sure what you mean. Druid, Ranger, rogue, fighter, I even did a monk/wizard that was a lot of fun, and had wild AC in Bladesong, Shadowblade, Hunter’s mark from Fey touched, and lots of fun tricks.

My Cobalt Soul/Inquisitive Rogue is one of my favorite characters, and I miss playing my Open Hand Monk/Swashbuckler Rogue.

The class has some pain points, but it’s far from ineffective.
I have multi-classed it too. I’m specifically referring to the 13 in two stats which makes multi-classing with something INT/CHA based difficult unless you sacrifice CON. This is in the context of point buy of course.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I have multi-classed it too. I’m specifically referring to the 13 in two stats which makes multi-classing with something INT/CHA based difficult unless you sacrifice CON. This is in the context of point buy of course.
Yeah in general I think 5e would be improved by having a higher point buy for people who use that option.

Point buy does decrease the options, of course, though you've still got Druid, Ranger, Rogue, Fighter, Cleric, and technically Barbarian though I'm not sure how well that would work.

I do think that more frequent ki refresh, maybe a little more ki at low levels, make deflect arrows into deflect attacks, and make the martial arts die start at d6, and 99% of the problems disapear, so I certainly don't think that the monk is difficult to fix without causing any incompatibility with existing subclasses. Still, even when we run 5e with no houserules, we don't experience much issue with Monks. No more than half the other classes, at least.
 

Undrave

Hero
While stunning is their primary shtick,
Which, BTW, comes online at level 5, when everybody else gets their schtick at level 1 or 2. The Monk really sticks out compared to other class because it's defining feature seems to shift with level.
I don't know what to tell you other than that there are a lot of people that are having a really good time playing monks, so it is plainly false to say the class can't be fun - and if it can be fun, it is fine.
And just because people are having fun doesn't mean the mechanics don't need an overhaul.
That said, I'll reiterate that I think some of their abilities could and should be tweaked and improved. But the class isn't an ill-defined hot mess with no role. It's a lot of fun to play, even with no changes at all.
When they designed the Monk they just kept piling on the class features, as if following a laundry list of past edition call backs they had to include. Like, Deflect arrow. It's a cool and flavourful concept but it feels needlessly fiddly for a limited scope feature. Why not just let us spend Ki reactively to do Patient Defense like suggested upthread? Some features interact with Ki, some don't. None of them seems to improve the base Martial Arts class features. Some care about your armor, others do not. It just doesn't feel as coherent mechanically as other classes, despite the clear theming. I think they tried too hard to give you ways to do very specific things instead of the general 'feel' of being a martial artist, if that makes sense?

I played a Way of Shadow Monk and the running up walls, sneaking around, teleporting into shadows (though I kept forgetting the advantage afterwards)... it's pretty cool. But when a fight breaks out I feel like a friggin' sidekick. Despite having godly rolled stats I felt super easy to hit and frail, felt like I had no damage, and I kept running out of Ki points while trying to keep up in terms of damage or control with the rest of the party.
I would not give monks unarmed damage higher than that of a greatsword.
No matter how much we want to indulge into shaolin mysticism.

That is why I suggested that it maxes out at d12.
That also might be too much, but it's is needed for game balance.
I'd prefer 2d6 over d12 for the consistency myself.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Which, BTW, comes online at level 5, when everybody else gets their schtick at level 1 or 2. The Monk really sticks out compared to other class because it's defining feature seems to shift with level.
IME Stunning Strike being their main shtick is more of a thing the more "online" the player is. Every monk player I know who doesn't go on DnD discussion sites of various kinds uses stunning strike much more sparingly than folks around here assume as the norm/universal case.
And just because people are having fun doesn't mean the mechanics don't need an overhaul.
If we imagined for a moment that no one was having a disatisfying experience playing monks, yes, it would mean that the monk doesn't need an overhaul, regardless of what the spreadsheets say.
The fact that the monk got fairly minor upgrades in Tasha's, while the Ranger got massive upgrades, suggests to me that the majority of monk players are having more fun than not.
When they designed the Monk they just kept piling on the class features, as if following a laundry list of past edition call backs they had to include. Like, Deflect arrow. It's a cool and flavourful concept but it feels needlessly fiddly for a limited scope feature. Why not just let us spend Ki reactively to do Patient Defense like suggested upthread?
Because that would be incredibly boring, and wouldn't let you throw arrows back at people? Upgrading it to Deflect Attacks (including even spell attacks at, say, 6th level) would be much more fun, engaging, and different from other classes.

But the whole idea that just because you don't like the class it's just a collection of bad features is pretty silly.
Some features interact with Ki, some don't.
As it should be.
None of them seems to improve the base Martial Arts class features.
um....what. While most of the features that directly improve the martial arts class features are in the subclasses where they can vary quite widely and serve to make the subclasses play very differently, there are a ton of such features. Open Hand. But also, Flurry of Blows is an improvement on Martial Arts. It's a multiplier.
I played a Way of Shadow Monk and the running up walls, sneaking around, teleporting into shadows (though I kept forgetting the advantage afterwards)... it's pretty cool. But when a fight breaks out I feel like a friggin' sidekick. Despite having godly rolled stats I felt super easy to hit and frail, felt like I had no damage, and I kept running out of Ki points while trying to keep up in terms of damage or control with the rest of the party.
Huh. My shadow monk wrecks house pretty solidly. I'll allow that the subclass could get like, shadowblade, added to the spell list and not be overpowered, and I'd have prefered the teleport at level 3, and then add the advantage at 6, and just genreally some kind of "when you use flurry of blows" ability, but especially now that I can bonus action punch someone any time I use my action to spend ki, and can easily get advantage on the first attack every round in many fights, and the game is now full of feats that let you get stuff like hunter's mark, most of the pain points i did see with the build are gone.

I will happily grant that every subclass should be adding something to at least one of the ki features, though. Some of what you do as part of that subclass should be an improved version of a base class feature, not just a new way to spend ki.

I would happily take a more interesting stunning strike, though. Someone suggested changing it to the effects of the slow spell. I like that.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Having studied karate for a number of years, I feel like the monk is missing some sort of Reaction for a temporary AC boost. Deflecting and blocking blows is such a key part of most martial arts. I know patient defense and unarmored defense are supposed to mimic this, but it is lackluster and at the table doesn't really capture the 'quick reflexes' feel. Maybe rework patient defense to spend 1 Ki as a reaction and increase your AC by your Martial Arts die until the end of your next turn?
Yeah that's exactly why I think Deflect Arrows needs to be Deflect Attacks.

And maybe allow you to do it without using your reaction by spending 1 ki. idk.

5e limits reaction stuff way too much IMO
 

kapars

Explorer
Here is my list of homebrew suggestions, they are in increasing levels of spice based on how much help you feel the class needs:
1. d10
2. Spend hit dice to regain proficiency bonus (PB) Ki up to 2 times per day
3. AC = 12 + DEX/WIS + PB
4. d6 through d12 martial arts
5. Spend Ki to cast innate spells gained from features that are not Spellcasting or Pact Magic up to PB/2 per day per spell
6. Stunning Strike changes to the effect of Slow but has no saving throw for 1 Ki and causes Stunned on a critical hit when spending 1 Ki

I’d give up Stun completely and be happy with 2, 4, and 5
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Here is my list of homebrew suggestions, they are in increasing levels of spice based on how much help you feel the class needs:
1. d10
2. Spend hit dice to regain proficiency bonus (PB) Ki up to 2 times per day
3. AC = 12 + DEX/WIS + PB
4. d6 through d12 martial arts
5. Spend Ki to cast innate spells gained from features that are not Spellcasting or Pact Magic up to PB/2 per day per spell
6. Stunning Strike changes to the effect of Slow but has no saving throw for 1 Ki and causes Stunned on a critical hit when spending 1 Ki

I’d give up Stun completely and be happy with 2, 4, and 5
Those are fun, though I wouldn't make the Ki regain cost anything and 6 seems more complicated than it needs to be. I'd just say it does slow, and it's 1 ki when you use flurry of blows to make every attack you make before the start of your next turn do the thing. Keep the crit thing, though.

For AC, I'd say 10+Dex+higher of wisdom or PB, but yours works too.

I'd also ditch the no armor rule entirely, and ditch the weapon restrictions.

Maybe have the movement boost gain a new name, and be +10 if you are wearing light or no armor, and +5 if you're wearing medium or heavy armor.
 

I am thinking about buffing monks for next campaign:


But I want to keep it simple and not trying to introduce any new mechanics/abilities for the class.
IMO there is no way to do this. To me the core problem with the monk is that you get no new active or offensive abilities from level 7 to level 10. The first five levels are fine and 6 and 11 are subclass levels. But although the base monk gets Stuff after level 5 it's almost all passive (immune to poison and disease, evasion, etc.) with the exception of running on liquid and up walls in a world of flight.

Meanwhile the ASI system means one of the monk's two primary stats falls off the pace and there are no really good monk feats to be excited for.

So you have a pattern that's
  • Levels 1-5: Great
  • Level 6: Subclass
  • Levels 7-10: Passive abilities that (other than Evasion) don't come up that much
  • Level 11: Subclass - when the fighter is getting a third attack, the barbarian undying rage, and the rogue skill ridiculousness
  • Level 12-16: mostly meh with one really good level of passive defences (prof to all saves and an easy reroll mechanic)
  • Level 17: Subclass
  • Level 18-20: endgame for a non-caster
There are just too many levels with only ribbon abilities that might not come up in entire adventures. Low level monks are fine but they scale badly outside tier 1
 

NotAYakk

Legend
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.
The "defender" in 1e was a Warrior, not a Defender.

The difference is that the Warrior was a front line combatant that both soaked AND dealt damage.

Every other class did less baseline damage than the Warrior type did. They had tricks (backstab, archery, spells).
 


The "defender" in 1e was a Warrior, not a Defender.

The difference is that the Warrior was a front line combatant that both soaked AND dealt damage.
And by that metric the fighter in 4e was "a Warrior not a Defender". They were a front line combatan that both soaked AND dealt damage and had one of the highest baseline damages in the game.
Every other class did less baseline damage than the Warrior type did. They had tricks (backstab, archery, spells).
You mean other classes had striker-style mechanics like backstab and were less good at soaking damage than fighters? Plus CA change.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
So, my personal monk tweaks:
And by that metric the fighter in 4e was "a Warrior not a Defender". They were a front line combatan that both soaked AND dealt damage and had one of the highest baseline damages in the game.

You mean other classes had striker-style mechanics like backstab and were less good at soaking damage than fighters? Plus CA change.
No, thieves were horrible strikers. Backstab was a near non-combat ability with all of its restrictions.

There wasn't a striker. There was warriors, skill monkeys, priests and mages. And subclasses.

Mages at low levels had a few blasts per adventure; they were artillery. Priests were weakend warriors with some spells, and only way to efficiently heal. Thieves had dungeon interacting skills, as assassination backstab (not useful in combat), and again weakened warrior abilities.

In combat, except spells, warrior types had highest offence and defence. Thieves had near offence paruty but crappy defence, priests could wear armor but worse weapons (magic swords are better and more common that cleric weapons).

It was a different balance.
 

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