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D&D 5E Comparing Monk DPR

auburn2

Adventurer
My personal position, previously stated in this thread, is that Monks aren't particularly underpowered, but that Stunning Strike is overpowered, and is particularly a problem that the other uses for Ki don't compare well.
I've been playing 5e for 5 years and have not found stunning strike to be a problem at all.

Also, this logic again can be used for anything - Sneak attack is so overpowered other uses of actions (shove, grapple, search and at low levels hide and disengage) don't compare well
 

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I've been playing 5e for 5 years and have not found stunning strike to be a problem at all.
Anecdotes aren't rational arguments. You've explained in detail how you don't care that it completely outshines other Ki uses, so it's obviously not surprising that you don't see any issue, but it is a bit "I see no ships!". I note you have no response re: your previous point re: what you incorrectly saw as a contradiction being refuted.
 

You're using the optional feature for Monk but not other classes. For example, two weapon fighting kinda isn't optimal anymore for Rogue (if it ever was) now that they can just get advantage every round through Steady Aim. People keep talking about Steady Aim being just for ranged, but it's not. It works for melee as well, it just increases the chance you will be hit back because you're not cunning action away. And then Treantmonk has an arcane trickster rogue using booming blade or green flame blade every melee attack round, so you're attacking with advantage (familiar, hiding, or steady aim), rapier damage, sneak attack damage, and GFB or BB damage. That adds up to a pretty hefty amount of damage.

As for your concerns about monk damage, I absolutely agree. Though Treantmonk does think one of the new subclasses for Monk in Tasha's does bring that subclass up to a decent DPR.

I just now read about Steady Aim, and, if it weren't for the fact that I'm almost done with all my 5e campaigns and am going to take a long break from DMing 5e, I think I'm just about ready to ban this book.
 


A few observations from the OP:

1. It doesn't look like you're accounting for critical hits. These actually do matter, as things that roll more dice do bigger crits, and this does affect DPR estimates. Notably, Advantage increases crit chance to ~10%, making it even more significant.

2. Damage does plateau, but the Monk does have some of the better defensive abilities at higher levels, Diamond Soul being particularly good.

3. Magic weapons, despite the writers' insistence they don't matter, do tend to come online at high levels. A warlock is less likely to have an item bonus, but a Fighter is highly like to have one, as are the Rogue and Monk.
 
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Mort

Legend
Supporter
I completely disagree and Monks have been all about stunning attacks since 3e. That is their core feature and it is not IMO boring at all.

If I recall correctly, 3e Monks got stunning fist at 1st level.

5e Monks don't get stunning strike until 5th, that's WAY too late for a "core" feature - forgetting anything else, it's bad design. Kind of like arguing that Monks have amazing saves - sure at 14th level, a level the great majority of campaigns will never see.
 

I ran some different numbers, accounting for crits, just focusing on 13th level mostly using the OP's assumptions, and assuming the martials have +1 weapons. Note that the +1 item bonus does not apply to monk's unarmed strikes. I also did a single-weapon rogue because the math is easier.

Monk (base): 20.02
Rogue: 23.5
Fighter: 25.06
Monk (flurry of blows): 25.95
Warlock: 26.55

Since sometimes a Monk will flurry, and sometimes he won't, I would argue that his expected damage output puts him comfortably in the martial tier. The fact that Stunning Strike costs only a single ki, and potentially gives the entire party advantage on the target, is a big deal. Boring? Perhaps. But is the monk underpowered? I don't think so.
 


Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
Oh boy, math!

I've yet to evaluate this thread, but I can already see major flaws based on the graph alone.

First off, DPR isn't the only measure of damage. Its the expected value but its not the only significant data analysis for damage. I've discussed a bit on the "The Mathematics of D&D" thread I posted a few weeks ago but I'll try giving a more thorough analysis when I'm afforded the time so we can truly determine whether a monk does have a place on the team as a type of damage-dealer.
 

CrashFiend82

Explorer
I know this is focused on DPR but a few other ideas that would have made the monk shine. First give the option for calculating AC as 10 + Dex Mod + Wis Mod or instead 10 + Dex mod + Proficiency, it would make the monk less MAD but start with a lower AC which increases regularly while really only maxing at 21 +5 Dex Mod and +6 Proficiency Bonus. They should get Expertise on Athletics or Acrobatics at level 1 it feels like this would play nicely with their niche and allow grapple or shove type builds. At high levels, somewhere around 11+ allow them to spend a ki point to grant advantage on a skill check (as they focus mentally on a single task). It also feels like they should have at least a tier increase in their unarmed attack die. It is a small change to DPR but feels much better for the player.
 


I’d say all that really matters wrt stunning strike is that a lot of players don’t want to have the gameplay of spamming it, but feel they need to in order to be effective.

That’s bad. Therefor it’s appropriate and good for us to discuss how to change that.

Most martials pretty much do one thing over and over. Fighters mostly just use their Apply Sword to Face ability and occasionally Action Surge or Second Wind. Rogues attack whomever the fighter is attacking and try to avoid getting smacked. Monks have a few options, more than the typical Rogue or Fighter, but fewer than the Paladin or Ranger.
 

Stunning Strike is not what Monks are designed to be about. On the contrary, it's an accident of bad design, like several elements of the Monk, it's something that's baked-in that should have been optional. You don't even get it until level 5, which is like 40% of the way through a lot of campaigns (considering people relatively rarely get above level 10, according to surveys here and elsewhere). You don't spam it because it's what Monks are meant to be about gameplay-wise, you do it because it's a ridiculously better use of your Ki than other options in a very, very large number of cases. In short, it's overpowered.

Agreed. I mean I think it makes for some really cool moments, and hope some more limited variation on it remains with D&D monks (or whatever they get renamed to in some future edition) for all time. But, as it exists in 5e, it makes it way too easy to take multiple bites at the apple of locking up almost any single enemy without excellent con saves for the entire fight, without forcing the Monk to sacrifice action, bonus action, or any other aspect of the action economy.

Stunning strike is too good not to use constantly, too powerful for a DM to not plan around, and too outsized a part of the 5e Monk's repertoire to limit without deeply undermining the class. It is an overpowered ability for an underpowered class, which is something that potentially could result in balance, but in this case, in my experience at least, really doesn't. Of the two monk characters I've sat at tables with for a long time one spammed it and the player felt unchallenged, overpowered, and like he was breaking the encounters, and the other never uses it and the player seems to continually feel his character is underpowered.
 

auburn2

Adventurer
Anecdotes aren't rational arguments. You've explained in detail how you don't care that it completely outshines other Ki uses, so it's obviously not surprising that you don't see any issue, but it is a bit "I see no ships!". I note you have no response re: your previous point re: what you incorrectly saw as a contradiction being refuted.
Claiming it is boring because it is used a lot is not rational either, especially when features for other classes, which are used more often are not considered boring.
 
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auburn2

Adventurer
I am the gif of the blinking man


Like...Steady Aim is not a powerful feature. It’s a convenience.
Steady aim is not that powerful because it stops all movement that turn and it uses a bonus action that Rogues could use effectively for something else.

Really in terms of DPR, using steady aim is strictly inferior to simply using your BA for two weapon fighting and it stops your movement to boot.
 

auburn2

Adventurer
If I recall correctly, 3e Monks got stunning fist at 1st level.

5e Monks don't get stunning strike until 5th, that's WAY too late for a "core" feature - forgetting anything else, it's bad design. Kind of like arguing that Monks have amazing saves - sure at 14th level, a level the great majority of campaigns will never see.
5th level is when every class other than Rogue gets a major bump in combat ability. Martials get multiple attacks, caster get 3rd level spells and 2x cantrips etc. Stunning strike falls right in line with this.

In 3e it was first level, but it was only once or twice a day at first level (can't recall) and increased in number of uses every level.
 

Steady aim is not that powerful because it stops all movement that turn and it uses a bonus action that Rogues could use effectively for something else.

For what? If you're attacking an enemy from range, you don't need to Disengage and rarely need Dash. The only other common use in combat is Hide...which is just to get Advantage, which you now have for free, standing out in the open. Pick up Sharpshooter and now you really never need to move.

Really in terms of DPR, using steady aim is strictly inferior to simply using your BA for two weapon fighting and it stops your movement to boot.

The possibility of following up a miss with a second attack is an obvious benefit for a melee rogue (although I don't think it's better than advantage), but there is the tremendous downside of, you know, being in melee range with less than stupendous AC and HP.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Most martials pretty much do one thing over and over. Fighters mostly just use their Apply Sword to Face ability and occasionally Action Surge or Second Wind. Rogues attack whomever the fighter is attacking and try to avoid getting smacked. Monks have a few options, more than the typical Rogue or Fighter, but fewer than the Paladin or Ranger.
Irrelevant.

Vanishingly few people are unsatisfied with either of those classes, especially in terms of their basic gameplay.
 

auburn2

Adventurer
For what? If you're attacking an enemy from range, you don't need to Disengage and rarely need Dash. The only other common use in combat is Hide...which is just to get Advantage, which you now have for free, standing out in the open. Pick up Sharpshooter and now you really never need to move.


No movement before or after is a heavy penalty to pay, especially for a class that relies on movement and positioning.

Most enemies will move to get cover (full cover if possible) or move to get within melee range of your Rogue (thereby canceling the advantage the Rogue would get with steady aim).

Steady aim is useful no doubt and another trick in the bag but it is hardly going to be used every turn. Aside from the Bonus actions you mention; thief, inquisitive, swashbuckler, soulknife, Arcane Trickster and mastermind all have one or more subclass specific bonus actions that they can not use if they use steady aim and the AT versatile trickster BA ability is strictly better than steady aim in virtually every case.


The possibility of following up a miss with a second attack is an obvious benefit for a melee rogue (although I don't think it's better than advantage), but there is the tremendous downside of, you know, being in melee range with less than stupendous AC and HP.
Advantage gives you two d20s to land SA, TWF gives you the same 2 chances to land SA but you get extra weapon damage if they both hit. It will always be a better DPR to have two attacks without advantage (assuming the SA conditions are met)
 
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Noxrim

Villager
A few observations from the OP:

1. It doesn't look like you're accounting for critical hits. These actually do matter, as things that roll more dice do bigger crits, and this does affect DPR estimates. Notably, Advantage increases crit chance to ~10%, making it even more significant.

2. Damage does plateau, but the Monk does have some of the better defensive abilities at higher levels, Diamond Soul being particularly good.

3. Magic weapons, despite the writers' insistence they don't matter, do tend to come online at high levels. A warlock is less likely to have an item bonus, but a Fighter is highly like to have one, as are the Rogue and Monk.
Thanks for taking the time to reply.

1- I should have mentioned it, but I do account for crits on those graphs.

2- That's true, but the Fighter who is arguably better defensively than the Monk is not suffering the same fate. If we are adding magic items, a shield and armor, which the Monk can't use, would boost the Fighter even further.

3- I didn't include them for simplicity and to even the playing field. The Fighter would get better use out of the magic weapons since they attack 3 times (and later 4 times) while the Monk only twice. Also, some might argue that Warlocks should include some magic items as well, so I just thought I would avoid them. But yes, I do believe most campaigns would have them.
 

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