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5E Kensai weapon expansion thoughts

Sacrosanct

Legend
RAW, the Kensai monk can select simple or martial weapons to count as monk weapons as long as they don't have the heavy or special property. For meta reasons I get that, as since you can use your monk damage die to replace the weapon's die, you'd never end up doing that with heavy weapons since their base damage is already that high or higher.

Then I watched Double World last night, and the character Jinggang. She has a greatsword, and would be the prototypical kensai monk. So I think for fun's sake, a kensai monk should be allowed pretty much any weapon. Any major issues by doing so I'm not seeing?

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As long as the weapon damage die caps at the monk damage die I'd allow any weapon you like up to and including sword-chucks or a Buster Sword. Even if you don't cap the damage die no major issues.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
No, I don't think there would be any major issues.

Especially since many monk attacks must still be unarmed strikes (bonus action unarmed strike and flurry of blows), not attacks with "monk" weapons. So, at best you'd get to attacks with the greatsword and two unarmed strikes (FoB). It is a lot of attacks, but uses a ki point for FoB.
 

RAW, the Kensai monk can select simple or martial weapons to count as monk weapons as long as they don't have the heavy or special property.

Then I watched Double World last night, and the character Jinggang. She has a greatsword, and would be the prototypical kensai monk. So I think for fun's sake, a kensai monk should be allowed pretty much any weapon. Any major issues by doing so I'm not seeing?
Yes and no.
The advantage of the Kensai is to access a bigger damage die earlier than the norm. A long sword used two handed makes the Kensai reach its d10 potential a lot earlier for almost no cost be it either defensively or even offensively. This makes the monk able to strike as effectively as a barb and nothing prevents then the monk to take the GWM and/or the PM feat for a deadly combination. Especially at high level.

On the other hand, It would be cool as hell. And monk are a bit lacking at high level.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
The only possible “balance” issue is that it lets a Dex character use GWM feat. Considering Dex characters can already use Sharpshooter, that doesn’t seem like a big deal.

The other edge case is that it would let you combine GWM with Elven Accuracy, which is slightly more powerful because it’s typically easier to get advantage with melee attacks than with ranged. This is already achievable by Hexblades, this would merely expand the class options to which that combination of feats is available.

I think the coolness factor overrides that, so I say go for it.
 

No, I don't think there would be any major issues.

Especially since many monk attacks must still be unarmed strikes (bonus action unarmed strike and flurry of blows), not attacks with "monk" weapons. So, at best you'd get to attacks with the greatsword and two unarmed strikes (FoB). It is a lot of attacks, but uses a ki point for FoB.
A bit more dangerous than that.
An 12th level monk could always have the options of:
GWM -5 to hit, +10 damage.
Dex is already at 20. AC is comparable to a barbarian.
If the enemy has low to mid AC: 1 ki to deal an additional 1d8 dmg, 1 ki to flurry. 4d6 + 3d8 + 40 (20 from dex bonuses, and 20 from GWM) or about 63 dmg.
Our barbarian taking the same path would do : 4d6 + 36 or about 50 dmg in average. This is not counting brutal critical.
The fighter would be 3d10 + 1d4 +50 (st 20, GWM, PAM proc) or 69 dmg on average but lacking the options of the barbs and the Kensai.

Against a High AC opponent, our monk would flurry, stun strike and on the next turn would use GWM to a better efficiency than either a barb, paly or fighter. Doing this every two rounds brings a lot of dmg for almost no costs.

I would house rule that a monk would not be allowed GWM feat. Otherwise, the Kensai would deal about 25% than the barb at almost no costs and would be almost on par with the fighter.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
A bit more dangerous than that.
An 12th level monk could always have the options of:
GWM -5 to hit, +10 damage.
Dex is already at 20. AC is comparable to a barbarian.
If the enemy has low to mid AC: 1 ki to deal an additional 1d8 dmg, 1 ki to flurry. 4d6 + 3d8 + 40 (20 from dex bonuses, and 20 from GWM) or about 63 dmg.
Our barbarian taking the same path would do : 4d6 + 36 or about 50 dmg in average. This is not counting brutal critical.
The fighter would be 3d10 + 1d4 +50 (st 20, GWM, PAM proc) or 69 dmg on average but lacking the options of the barbs and the Kensai.

Against a High AC opponent, our monk would flurry, stun strike and on the next turn would use GWM to a better efficiency than either a barb, paly or fighter. Doing this every two rounds brings a lot of dmg for almost no costs.

I would house rule that a monk would not be allowed GWM feat. Otherwise, the Kensai would deal about 25% than the barb at almost no costs and would be almost on par with the fighter.
That's neglecting the major accuracy bonus barbarians have in Reckless Attack, though.
 

They would probably be slightly more powerful at lower levels due to having their main attack be 2d6/1d12. And probably another bump when they get extra attack and can do that twice. But I don't think the extra damage would be highly unbalancing. Unless they are the most optimized character and the rest of the party is sub optimal, the different probably wouldn't be noticeable. Unless I thought it would somehow make it unfun for the rest of the players, I'd be okay with it.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
A bit more dangerous than that.
An 12th level monk could always have the options of:
GWM -5 to hit, +10 damage.
Dex is already at 20. AC is comparable to a barbarian.
If the enemy has low to mid AC: 1 ki to deal an additional 1d8 dmg, 1 ki to flurry. 4d6 + 3d8 + 40 (20 from dex bonuses, and 20 from GWM) or about 63 dmg.
Our barbarian taking the same path would do : 4d6 + 36 or about 50 dmg in average. This is not counting brutal critical.
The fighter would be 3d10 + 1d4 +50 (st 20, GWM, PAM proc) or 69 dmg on average but lacking the options of the barbs and the Kensai.

Against a High AC opponent, our monk would flurry, stun strike and on the next turn would use GWM to a better efficiency than either a barb, paly or fighter. Doing this every two rounds brings a lot of dmg for almost no costs.

I would house rule that a monk would not be allowed GWM feat. Otherwise, the Kensai would deal about 25% than the barb at almost no costs and would be almost on par with the fighter.
First, you are talking 12th level at that point. You are also using ki. You also won't be fighting many things with low to mid AC (by 12th level your typical opponent AC is about 17-18 IME). Also, with the -5 to attacks you are unlikely to hit with all four attacks. This is why I never look at best case scenarios.

Please understand I am not disregarding your point--it is a good one and very valid. But, I think it is a fringe case at best and if everything works out in such a case, let the PC deal good damage since it is costing them ki and a feat to do it.

If it bothers you or the OP, my advice would be to rule GWM requires a STR-based attack, then monks could not benefit from it by using DEX?
 

That is why I said that these attacks would be against low to mid AC. Against high AC, the monk would go for stunning strike, doing essentially GWM once every two rounds. This way, our Kensai would do about the same (ok, a little less) damage as the barbarian but without allowing the enemy to strike him with advantage. The monk would even be able to negate/shut down an enemy just as he is now, but would benefit so much from this damage wise that it is almost ludicrous.

Also, when you change a rule, you should always try it at high level (if not maximum level) to better see the implications. Saying that most games do not reach high level is not a valid point. Some do, and when your game reach high level and you see the destabilizing effect your house rule does, it is a bit too late to remove the toy of the player. The monk is a bit lacking in damage, yet, the monk is not all about damage, it is a blend of damage, control and mobility. Me too would wish to a bit more damage on the monk. But it should be something that goes to all monk's subclasses. Not just one.

Edit: Also, a bit higher, the monk has the option of using Ki to give up to +3 to his weapon. This alleviate a bit more of the GWM penalty. Another point where the monk will outshine the barb in almost every way.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
I know, I was just pointing out that by level 12, low to mid ACs don't come up that often.

And the point of the level is material when many games don't reach that point. Interest wanes, the game becomes more "super-hero"-like anyway, and such things are often expected in those games.

And I think the kensai is a perfect subclass to benefit in doing more damage with any weapon they chose as a kensai weapon. If monks benefit any where from damage, it should be to their martial arts die (which is why we bumped it up one stage as a house-rule).

Also, the barbarian still has many ways it can outshine a monk--this isn't a competition between classes, especially when you are considering the subclass of one (the kensai) and not a subclass of the other. As @TwoSix pointed out, the barbarian can reckless attack and completely mitigate (more or less) the -5 GWM penalty. The barbarian can also use a magic weapon, offsetting his own penalties as well. Sure, it might not be +3 but it will still help. Frankly, if the kensai is willing to spend 3 ki points I am okay with that personally. :)

All in all, I simply don't see it as being such a major concern as you do. Which is fine, as I said before it is a perfectly valid point, just not one I completely agree with.
 

I know, I was just pointing out that by level 12, low to mid ACs don't come up that often.

And the point of the level is material when many games don't reach that point. Interest wanes, the game becomes more "super-hero"-like anyway, and such things are often expected in those games.

And I think the kensai is a perfect subclass to benefit in doing more damage with any weapon they chose as a kensai weapon. If monks benefit any where from damage, it should be to their martial arts die (which is why we bumped it up one stage as a house-rule).

Also, the barbarian still has many ways it can outshine a monk--this isn't a competition between classes, especially when you are considering the subclass of one (the kensai) and not a subclass of the other. As @TwoSix pointed out, the barbarian can reckless attack and completely mitigate (more or less) the -5 GWM penalty. The barbarian can also use a magic weapon, offsetting his own penalties as well. Sure, it might not be +3 but it will still help. Frankly, if the kensai is willing to spend 3 ki points I am okay with that personally. :)

All in all, I simply don't see it as being such a major concern as you do. Which is fine, as I said before it is a perfectly valid point, just not one I completely agree with.
Mmm... It depends on the kind of fights and the type of encounter you have. I tend to make fights with low level mobs as bounded accuracy with a nice bless spell makes them relevant all the way up to level 20 and it makes for varied encounters. Ho! See! Hobgoblins! It's gonna be easy. Until the fireball is countered by the mage with the hobgoblins, that they start to hit with bless spells cast by 2 clerics and that these hobgoblins are in fact veterans under the command of a warlord. If hobgoblins does not suit, put orcs, kobolds or whatever.

And adding low (relatively) level mob, makes that GWM feature of cleaving a bit more relevant and makes players happy! ;)
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
If it works for you, cool. We've only have one PC, ever, with GWM and only one ever with SS. They aren't commonly taken feats at our table, obviously. But like I said, if you feel it could break something at your games, don't allow it. :)
 

ZeshinX

Adventurer
I already allow it in my games. The kensei is a weapon master, operative word being weapon. They aren't a most weapons master, or only one-handed weapons master....they are a weapon master. Period. That's just my own interpretation, and others are naturally free to view it however they wish. :)

Yep, it can create situations of wildly satisfying damage output, but that's part of the fun. My players know that "what's good for the goose, is good for the gander" in my games, so they know if they can do things, so can certain baddies they may encounter on their adventures.
 

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