Help with a Character Build for a OA-style game

phindar

First Post
I'm really having trouble getting started building a character for a friend of mine's game. The books I'm using primarily are the PHB, OA, the first four Completes (Ar/D/W/Ad), and the PHB II, with other sources being negotiable.

The character creation guidelines are as follows: No multiclassing penalties. I have to take 2 levels of Monk to represent monastic training, and beyond that, any levels I have in a primary casting class have to be less than half my total character level. The characters are starting at 7th level, with half the money, and no magic items. (It's a low magic campaign.)

My general idea is for a fighter type who has some spellcasting for buff and minor healing. I'm thinking of going Monk into OA Samurai and taking a few levels of a casting class, either arcane or divine, and taking spells that increase my armor and weapons. But when I actually sit down to build the character, I'm drawing a bit of a blank. I'm thinking something like a Monk/OA Samurai, with a level or two of something like Sorcerer or Earth Shugenja. (The idea is to have spells that buff my armor so I can get my Monk bonuses as well.)

Or I could ditch the caster idea and go straight for Ronin, and build around the idea of doing a lot of damage on a charge (Power Attack, two-hand weapon, and Bonzai Charge, maybe with something like Combat Brute or Shock Trooper).

Any advice is welcome.
 

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Darklone

Registered User
Darn, no Bo9S?? Swordsage would be sooo great.

I'd build a monk2/sorcerer with the battle sorcerer variant and the Ascetic Monk style, perhaps heading for Eldritch knight later.

Monk Paladin would be possible too...
 

phindar

First Post
Yeah, I missed the boat on Bo9S, and I don't really want to learn a bunch of new rules for 3.5 with 4e right around the corner.

One of my ideas seemed so dumb I didn't mention it, but it was for a Monk 2/ Samuria 2/ Earth Shugenja 2/ Sorcerer 1. I mean, I'd be giving up a lot of BAB, but I looked at the numbers and that build gives me a lot of spells. Normally it wouldn't be worth the bother, but in a low magic campaign where there aren't a lot of higher level spells being bandied about, effectively doubling your low level spells isn't bad. Plus, that gives me access to things like Mage Armor, Shield, in addition to Shield of Faith. Although the character wouldn't be doing much damage in combat until it got Flame Blade.

I might go that route if I decide to go for a more dedicated caster.
 


phindar

First Post
If I was going to do that, clearly, clearly, I would go Monk/Barbarian/Bear Warrior. But that's not the meeting we're having right now. (I might try to sell another player on this idea, since he is a bit of a goofball, but it not might be in the spirit of the campaign.)
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
In addition to the suggestions above...

First, make sure you have a copy of James Wyatt's 3.5 update of OA in Dragon #318 (Apr 2004).

Second, strongly consider the OA Shaman, either to multiclass with or to sub for Monk. (In addition, the 3.5 update gives the Shaman an increasingly powerful unarmed strike like the Monk's, so a generous DM might let the 2 classes stack for that purpose- the text is otherwise silent.)

Third, consider the Sohei- whose Ki Frenzy combines aspects of FoB and Rage with some light armor and spellcasting.

Fourth, I know its not on your list of books, but check out FR: Unaproachable East for the Shou Disciple- a 5 level PrCl that can flurry with any weapon.

Fifth- another book not on your list is Rokugan- AEG's (technically original) take on the OA world- which contains some good stuff for Monk PCs, and includes a Base class variant called the Inkyo.

Sixth, the feats Double Steel Strike (Eberron p60), Whirling Steel Strike (Eberron p60), Serpent Strike (Eberron p60), Pole Master (SoS), Pole Fighter and Unorthodox Flurry (both DCv1) all let you use certain (non-monk) weapons with FoB.

Lastly, check out this thread:
http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=221182&page=1&pp=15

BTW...Another way to go at the Kung-Fu Panda (something I've been wanting to do since a kid whupped my butt using one in a Tekken game) is to use Savage Species' Anthropomorphic animal rules and choose one of the bear races. Anthros tend to have decent Wis, Dex and Str mods.

Other good races for Monks- Githzerai, Thri-Kreen, other Anthros.
 
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phindar

First Post
Thanks for the links, and the sources. Some of them I don't have access to (like Unapproachable East, no one I know has the book), some of them I am digging up.

I'm zeroing in on a concept of a TWF Monk/Samurai/Fighter who used his katana two-handed and makes unarmed "off-hand" attacks. The example in the FAQ is a monk using two weapons and making off hand unarmed attacks, so this seems to be legal, or close enough that I'll show it to my GM and see if he approves.

At 9th level I'll have Two Weapon Pounce, which seems like I'll be able to attack with my katana and a kick on a charge, combined with Leap Attack, Flying Kick, and Bonzai Charge (the Ronin PrC ability).

I plan to wear light armor, so I'll lose my Flurry and AC Bonus, but keep Evasion and my Monk feats. Since I'm not relying on WIS for AC I put those points into INT and took Combat Expertise, the theory being I can open with a devastating charge and then if I need to on the follow-up round, go full Expertise and active defense.

Skills are good. Balance, Tumble, Jump, Diplomacy, and Sense Motive around 10-12, Intimidate and Spot around 5-8, Iaijutsu Focus at 13 (the bonus damage of which will stack with my Ronin sneak attack when I get it).

I'll take two levels of Ronin to get me to 9th, then round out my advancement with a level of Fighter (for the feat), Rogue (skills and sneak attack) or maybe a caster level (wu jen or wizard for utility spells). The campaign is set to go to 12th, so that's really as far as I'm looking.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Well, if you have the DCv1, you can still use Unorthodox Flurry to get FoB with your Wakizashi...and there some Monk PrCls other than the Shou Disciple that let you maintain certain monk abilities while wearing light armor.

Unfortunately, I don't have them all memorized, so the only thing I can say to point you in the right direction is that they ARE from WotC sourcebooks.
 

phindar

First Post
I'll take a look at them although I've drifted enough from my Monk roots that I probably won't qualify for many Monk PrCs.

I've actually been thinking that after two levels of Ronin I'll take a couple of levels of Barbarian for Rage, Fast Move and Uncanny Dodge. I like UD because not being flat-footed in Iaijutsu duels. And the Rage and Move for being a charger.

But what course the campaign takes over the next four levels could determine what I build towards, so I'll keep the Monk stuff in mind. I appreciate all the help as well. It definitely helped me break the creative gridlock, and now I've got a character I'm pretty excited about playing. (Although admittedly that could just be because I'm currently hopped up on diet soda. The stuff is like crack to me.)
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I'll take a look at them although I've drifted enough from my Monk roots that I probably won't qualify for many Monk PrCs.

While there are PrCls that do require you to be a Monk, either explicitly ("Prereq: Monk lvl N") or implicitly ("Prereq: Still Mind class feature" or "Purity of Body class feature""*), many "Monk PrCls" don't actually require the PC to be a Monk.

Instead, many just requiring that the PC have IUC and a few other prereqs, like additional Feats, a certain BAB or X ranks in skills. The aforementioned Shou Disciple is one such (don't worry, I haven't forgotten that you don't have the book its in), the Kensai another.

* Which technically leaves it open to any other class with one of those features- of which the Monk is the only one in WotC's product line, AFAIK- but 3rd party publishers may have some lurking out there. Also, with a sufficiently lenient DM, something sufficiently similar could suffice. For example, some classes with Aura powers have abilities similar to Still Mind, and Divine Health is mechanically identical to Purity of Body.

But what course the campaign takes over the next four levels could determine what I build towards, so I'll keep the Monk stuff in mind.

Its always a good idea to try to get a feel for your DM's flow- you may find the campaign itself offers some very appealing options that you couldn't possibly consider until you had been playing the PC for a while. Who knows, perhaps he has some campaign-specific PrCls that will fit your PC to a T, or some event will occur that will drive your PC in a previously unimaginable direction.
 

phindar

First Post
I played this character last week, and it came together pretty well. The opposition were mostly single-class monks and the backdrop was a grand competition between schools which I (and the other PCs) were allowed to enter as former members of a particular order. The climax of the tournament put us in a grand melee with four other schools in the Imperial forest.

Though my character's main tactic is to do a lot of damage on the initial charge (Leap Attack plus OA's Flying Kick), I never rolled above a "3" on my charge attacks. However the combination of swtiching between Power Attack for high damage and Expertise for high AC paid off when I got jumped by three Jumping Monkey School monks and immediately tripped. I went full expertise and attempted to initiate a grapple which failed, but even with the +4 to hit a prone target none of the monks could touch my 29 AC. This was helpful as I had blown my tumble roll trying to get away. (Needed a "4", rolled a "1".)

Even though I wasn't rolling great the character still performed well. I also lucked out early in the hit point rolls and came in about 10 hp above average, which was nice because I pretty much got to use all of them at one time or another.

Moving forward into Ronin, I'm not going to have a lot of spare feats. I'm planning on taking Two Weapon Pounce at 9th, and the game is supposed to conclude around 12th so I'll take whatever seems appropriate at that time. With Bonzai Charge at 9th, on a charge I'll be looking at a damage potential of Unarmed (d6+16 [8 point Power Attack with Leap Attack] +8 [Bonzai Charge] +4 STR)*2 [OA's Flying Kick] and a Katana d10+24 (8 point 2-hand Power Attack with Leap Attack) +8 [Bonzai Charge] +6 STR +1 enhancement; 2d6+56 and d10+39. That's with a -8 to hit and a -8 to AC, so it's far from guaranteed. Plus, against a flat-footed opponent I'll have on average another +4d6 Iaijutsu damage (although it could go as high as 6d6) and +d6 Sneak Attack. Granted, my AC for that round will just barely be in the double digits, but that's the risk Ronin take.
 


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