Making monks cool again

CubicsRube

Explorer
I'm playing a monk in a campaign right now so I'm sure as hell biased, but there's a couple of things I would love to do with my STR 10 monk that'd make him feel super cool.

1) give monks at a certain level (maybe 2) the ability to use DEX acrobatics to grapple and push enemies. Maybe I've watched too many kung fu movies, but this is monk essence in my mind. Monks get a number of attacks and this would be a cool way for them to use one or two up. I envisage tripping two enemies followed up by a flurry when they're down. Cool.

2) also be able to use dex acrobatics to climb and jump long distances. Again too many kung fu movies.

Yes there will be naysayers who claim that I should just pump my strength and choose athletics as a proficency, but it's very limiting and I can't choose other important proficiencies like nature and medicine. You wouldn't put your cat in a box would you? You wouldn't do the same to my poor monk, would you?

No, I say freedom to monks! Make them the zany martial class for people who like fun!
 

akr71

Explorer
I'm not sure when monks were NOT cool.

1) Way of the Open Hand already has this at level 3.

2) "You can perform acrobatic stunts, including dives, rolls, somersaults and flips." PHB pg 176. For me that covers parkour-like maneuvers like you describes. It happens at my table all the time.
 

CubicsRube

Explorer
1) No it doesnt. It has the ability to trip or push as part of one of it's attacks, but they can't use the technique to grapple. I'm also referring to all monks, not a single archetype.

2) at your table, not at mine, not at everyone elses. many DMs rule that jumping, climbing and the like fall in the province of STR athletics. Having a specific expanded description kf what you can do with acrobatics for a monk would help standardise that.
 

Dausuul

Legend
At 9th level, you gain the ability to move along vertical surfaces and across liquids on your turn without falling during the move.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
Many DMs rule that those are STR athletics because they are, 5E is pretty clear about that. DMs can rule differently of course, but there are wider game balance issues with shoving those over to DEX, namely that DEX is already pretty loaded from a mechanics standpoint and making STR even more of a dump stat isn't ideal. I probably don't have an issue with home brewing Monks as the exception there, but that's as far as I'd want to take it.
 

akr71

Explorer
1) No it doesnt. It has the ability to trip or push as part of one of it's attacks, but they can't use the technique to grapple. I'm also referring to all monks, not a single archetype.

2) at your table, not at mine, not at everyone elses. many DMs rule that jumping, climbing and the like fall in the province of STR athletics. Having a specific expanded description kf what you can do with acrobatics for a monk would help standardise that.
1. Alright, maybe I wasn't specific enough... You said "grapple and push." The Way of the Open Hand allows the Monk to push an opponent or knock it prone. To me, the grapple part before you push is just flavor.

2. I agree. That sucks and playing a monk at a table like that would really feel limiting. At my table, if a player describes an action that is clearly acrobatic in nature, then I'll let them roll appropriately.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
1. Not every Athletics check has to be with STR. You could use DEX if you are using locks, etc. to grapple your foe and not brute force. I would still make it Athletics and not Acrobatics, however, and if you want to be able to do it better, take proficiency in Athletics. Simply because you don't like how it feels like it is nerfing your PC doesn't mean it needs a house-rule to fix it. And Way of the Open Hand does do a lot of the flavor of what you want to accomplish (as you said, you want to trip enemies, well, that is knocking them prone). Also, although that is specific to that archetype, not every monk should have the abilities you discuss as there are many different types of monks.

2. Climbing and jumping is, again, Athletics, not Acrobatics. However, you have a STR 10 and depending on how you want to climb and jump, you could discuss with the DM about allowing you to use DEX instead of STR.

Too many tables get locked into the idea of skills always being associated with one and only one ability score, which isn't the case IMO and shouldn't be. Consider Intimidation. If you are talking and threatening that way, sure CHA is the ability, but if you are flexing muscles and pushing someone around, it is definitely STR-based!

I don't think you should have to pump up your STR, but I do think proficiency in Athletics is a must and talking with your DM and the rest of about allowing you to utilitize DEX for some of the things you want to accomplish and not always STR.

Finally, even if you don't take proficiency in Athletics, consider that you can still do those things with DEX if you talk to your DM about how you want to do them. Without proficiency, you won't be as good of course, but then again think about how you'd be cheating a player who took proficiency in Athletics to be better, and now you are just as good at the same sort of things, but you get to do it with Acrobatics--how is that fair?
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
1) No it doesnt. It has the ability to trip or push as part of one of it's attacks, but they can't use the technique to grapple. I'm also referring to all monks, not a single archetype.
The monk class also covers sword wielding kensai and people who shoot balls of energy from their palms. "Kung Fu guy" is a particular archetype, not the whole class.

Most of the things you want are covered by the archetype, the rest you can pick up as feats.

2) at your table, not at mine, not at everyone elses. many DMs rule that jumping, climbing and the like fall in the province of STR athletics. Having a specific expanded description kf what you can do with acrobatics for a monk would help standardise that.
It's already standardised. Not our fault if your DM hasn't read the DMG.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
I think a simple feat that says:

  • You can shove or grapple using Dex (Acrobatics) rather than STR (Athletics).
  • You can climb or jump using Dex (Acrobatics) rather than STR (Athletics).

Is an easy and not at all unbalanced way for your DM to introduce this concept into their game and for you to pick it up. You are choosing not to raise your DEX via ASI to get these other four actions using DEX instead. I'd be perfectly happy to let one of my players have and take this.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
I'm playing a monk in a campaign right now so I'm sure as hell biased, but there's a couple of things I would love to do with my STR 10 monk that'd make him feel super cool.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, why did you choose to make a monk who is a little less powerful and athletic than the average commoner off the streets?
Was it pure character optimisation through wanting to pump other stats?
Did you want to play someone who really wanted to fight, but was let down by their lack of physical power, so turned to magic to make up for it?

1) give monks at a certain level (maybe 2) the ability to use DEX acrobatics to grapple and push enemies. Maybe I've watched too many kung fu movies, but this is monk essence in my mind. Monks get a number of attacks and this would be a cool way for them to use one or two up. I envisage tripping two enemies followed up by a flurry when they're down. Cool.
The protagonists depicted in most kung-fu movies definitely have a strength higher then 10. Bruce Lee would probably be rocking a +2 or 3 STr modifier even before you get to what his films depict him as being able to do.
An Open Hand master can already knock someone across the room, which is pretty good control and nothing stops a Monk from picking up Athletics to represent physical prowess and grappling technique.

2) also be able to use dex acrobatics to climb and jump long distances. Again too many kung fu movies.
Monks can already run up walls, and jump way further than an equivalently athletic non-magic character could.

Yes there will be naysayers who claim that I should just pump my strength and choose athletics as a proficency, but it's very limiting and I can't choose other important proficiencies like nature and medicine. You wouldn't put your cat in a box would you? You wouldn't do the same to my poor monk, would you?
Not all characters get to be good in everything that the player wants them to do at character creation. If you decided that you didn't want to play an athletic or physically powerful character by putting a low score in Str rather than a more even distribution, I wouldn't take that choice away from you. You could have picked Athletics, Acrobatics, Nature and Medicine as your skills, but you chose not to.

No one put you in that box. You went in there of your own accord. Just like the cat.

No, I say freedom to monks! Make them the zany martial class for people who like fun!
Probably worth pointing out that Monks are the magical, martial arts class. Fighters, probably Rogues are the martial, martial arts class. And everyone deserves fun.

Put it this way: how would you feel if you were playing a monk who invested in Strength and Athletics because they wanted to be good at climbing, wrestling, and have a build like Bruce, and the DM handwaved all Strength and Athletics-related stuff to Dex and acrobatics so that the min/maxed Str-dumped monk could be better than you at everything?
 

Richards

Adventurer
You wouldn't put your cat in a box would you?
I most certainly would put my cat - if I had such a beast - in a box. Preferably with a radioactive pellet that would give it an exactly 50% chance of either being dead or alive when I opened the box. I think that Schrodinger guy may have been on to something.

But back on topic: I think monks are cool. You're just looking for other ways to make monk cool.

Johnathan
 
Hmmm, Way of the Open Cask. My homebrew juices are flowing (pun intended).
Just last night I was joking about running Wizards & Winecellars - powerful masters of the arcane arts, sometime allies, sometime rivals, delve deep into ancient tombs, catacombs, temples, ruins, and even other planes existence in search adventure, knowledge - and the finest vintages! LARPing the last bit required.
 

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