Monk a striker: Why? (Forked Thread: 3rd Party Poopers)


First Post
Because they were in basically all the other editions they were in, at least theoretically.
My recollection of every monk I've ever seen was that it was the quintessential example of designing a class without the thought of what it's actually supposed to be good at crossing anyone's mind. That's just something we take for granted today.

Even in 3e, it was a heavily mixed-up class, granting lots of mobility while at the same time bestowing the flurry ability that encouraged sitting still. It had a bunch of esoteric immunities and great saving throws, but mediocre AC and HP--maybe it was supposed to be a good mage-killer.

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First Post
Pfft. People thought the Barbarian was going to be a Defender, too.

There's too much confusion about what the Roles actually are for anyone to give factuality to it.

For my money, though, I'd say Monks would make a better Controller than a Striker.

Monks have never been about hitting particularly hard. They attack with their fists, which are impressively equal to swords, but not superior to swords.

People think they make good strikers because of mobility and agility, but that is also the trait that makes them good Controllers.

Martial arts have been more about disarming, tripping, stunning, disabling, and otherwise limiting the actions that an enemy can do to you. Multiple attacks like Flurry of Blows and a high speed and Atheltics score just help the monk do it to many people at once.

I mean, check the Druid's melee control abilities. The monk will look a lot like that, I bet.

I see them having some striker-ish and defender-ish qualities, but their main role should be Controller. It fits with what martial arts in general are about: controlling your opponent's movements, using them against him, and putting him at a disadvantage.

This pretty much sums up all my arguments I was going to make. Note, I never said anyone was WRONG for saying a monk should be a striker, I just wanted reasons why they thought that way. In my mind, I just didnt see the monk as a striker. KM just about sums it up why. For what its worth, The Wulin Xia, a Ki Defender: Complete Class, 5 PPs, 1 ED. - Wizards Community that is a link to what I thought was a very well done defender "monk", named a Wulin Xia by its creator. It does a good job of fitting the defender/controller vision in my mind, and near as I can tell its pretty well balanced. Sadly not playing in a 4e game right now or I would test out the class.


First Post
Not every 4e class has to be named after and built after a 3e class.
Indeed, it's been stated as the rationale for the warlord that the intent with PHB's is to try to include a new class rather than just transition over old ones.

Really, we'll probably get a monk, ninja, and samurai, just because those are the classic classes that fans will demand. But the fourth class doesn't have to be the wu jen. It could be, but in 3e, the wu jen didn't even sort of look like a ki class. It was straight up arcane.
True, it was straight arcane. And the shugenja was straight divine. These barely justify new classes IMO.


Regarding Shugenja as Controller:

The reason I went with leader for shugenja is due to previous editions' casting them in a more spellcasting-heavy cleric-like role. The Wu Jen was the Asian wizard analogue, hence controller.

The wu jen was a straight up wizard variant. The shugenja could be a lot of things, depending on the build... a fire shugenja was basically a blasting sorcerer. But all the elements had environmental effects, whether it was fog or a fiery blast.

Regarding Kensei/Samurai:

Kensei is already a fighter Paragon Path, so that's right out.

Ok, but the idea is still sound, a person who uses ki to be very tough and hit hard.

On the matter of the Shugenja... they were divine casters in 3e, but so were druids, so what does that prove? The distinction has always been fairly arbitrary. Shugenja are Cha casters who focus on elemental power, so how are they much different than a sorcerer/elementalist? They would work as ki because they are neither arcane casters in the sense of weaving magical words or eledritch energy, nor disciples of any particular deity. Their power resides in natural forces. Ki is ultimately a word much like mana or spirit, and can be used in many different ways. A shugenja's powers come from personal enlightenment and ritual, so ki works for me, and the Void Disciple is clearly a ki-wielding class full of traditional transcendent mysticism. Think of a fire shugenja as having a major hadoken and the water shugenja having powers similar to but more flexible than a monk's self-healing.

In Rolemaster, monks with supernatural powers are Essence casters, like magicians. In Rolemaster, Essence is a magical power that pervades the world and can be altered through concentration. As in, ki.


First Post
Shugenja are Cha casters who focus on elemental power, so how are they much different than a sorcerer/elementalist?
Exactly! So why should there be a ki-based Shugenja class? It doesn't make sense (to me). They'd probably make more sense as a representative of the elemental power source. Wu-Jen are even worse - they didn't even have different flavour than wizards. A couple of feats would probably be sufficient to recreate anything that made a Wu-Jen different from a wizard.

I think the 9 disciplines from 3E's 'Tome of Battle' are a much better example of combat styles that are different expressions of using 'Ki'. I'd definitely like WotC to use these as a starting point for new 'ki' classes rather than the lame oriental copycat classes.

I'm A Banana

In my mind, the "Mythical Asia" classes won't ALL be ki. Heck, you don't even need a separate ki power source at all.

Samurai: Martial; though how they make this distinct from the Fighter or the Warlord I won't know.

Ninja: Shadow (think about it!); treads the same ground as the Assassin, really.

Monk: Martial (More for the wuxia) or even Psionic (again, it works better than you might think!).

Shugenja: Elemental. I mean, duh. ;)

If Ki is a distinct power source, I see the monk and the ninja and perhaps the samurai going that path, but not the Shugenja. Power sources have more distinct flavor than that, it seems (all Primal powers cause shape-shifting to some degree, all Martial powers are physical, etc.). Ki powers might be more "wuxia action" kind of flavor, sort of "martial turned up to 11!" That could be distinct, but I guess it's a little unnecessary in my mind. But my mind doesn't have any problem with "martial" meaning "wahoo," and perhaps WotC needs to appease...


Despite 'Shoulds' or 'Ought to be' or 'could be', we pretty much know there 'will be'.

More likely than not, WotC will make the Striker Ki, and the other classes 'Power Source: Asian'.

Among other things, because those things are popular, and people will buy them.


First Post
It seems I need to repeat a lot of the stuff I have been saying over at the WotC Future Releases forum...

First off, to address the main topic, I really have no idea whether the Monk should be a Ki Striker, a Ki Controller, or a Ki Defender. Honestly, I would prefer it is the traditional D&D "Monk" was given a different name this time around, since I really want to see a Divine class based on the image of the wandering Buddhist monk seen throughout eastern pop-culture. I doubt that will happen, though, so I'll just use the classic name for the class for now. However, since the Monk is almost certainly going to be a Ki class, rather than a Martial class, I have no doubt that it would make a good Controller if WotC chose to do go that route, and even if it is a Striker or Defender I imagine it will be a little Controller-like.

Before I talk about the specifics of classes, I want to say that I think Ki will essentially be the flashier and more energetic version of Martial. It will probably be based on weapon attacks and the like, augmented by supernatural effects and flavor. Comparisons to fighting games like the Street Fighter series or anime like Dragonball are probably apt. As such, it will probably more closely resemble the good parts of Tome of Battle than it will look like any 3E classes.

As I mentioned above, I think a Ki Defender or Striker version of the Monk is fairly self-explanatory, but I also see it working perfectly well as a Controller. Just because a Controller works in melee doesn't mean that it will be "sticky" like a Defender, after all. For example, look at the Setting Sun discipline from the 3E Tome of Battle (one of my favorite disciplines from that book). In addition to countless throwing moves designed to hurt foes and move them around the battlefield (away from the user), it has one move, Ballista Throw, which a PC throws an enemy through a group of other enemies like a line attack. Such a set of moves would work beautifully as the basis for one build of a Ki Controller Monk (the "soft-style" build, maybe?). Another build (the "hard-style" build) of such a Monk could be built on Hadoken-like ranged energy attacks, ranged punches, and blows designed to strike the "ki" of the foe and cripple him (I am a big fan of the Hyuga clan from the Naruto series). In other words, it would be a "melee" controller designed to stay mobile while pushing and throwing enemies around, using special ranged attacks, and occasionally using more sticky and debilitating moves. Maybe it could even send out a shockwave of ki or grab an enemy and swing him around in an arc as a close burst attack in order to have more area of effect moves.

Darn it, the more I write about the idea, the more I like the sound of it. Just when I was getting set on the Samurai being a Ki Controller, too... Oh, I should probably explain that one. ;)

You see, I have been arguing on the WotC boards that the Samurai could make a pretty interesting Ki Controller (or at least, that is one good thing the Samurai could be). It could be a class capable of sending out ranged energy slashes from the blade of sword, performing supernatural Iaijutsu attacks that cut down every enemy in a wide close burst, use a bow to shoot arrows charged with ki that explode at range or seal an enemy's power, etc. Actually, this idea could be fused with the Controller Monk idea I mentioned above to make a great new version of the Swordsage (though they might need a new name thanks to the Swordmage).

As for a few other things...

Ninja: I don't see this as Ki. The shadow-assassin ninja is already perfectly covered by the Rogue, so if they make a dedicated Ninja class I want it to be an Arcane or maybe Elemental class dedicated to the most out-there stuff you will ever see a ninja do. Fire-breathing, frog-summoning, ninja-vanishing, doppleganger-using, tricking does into attacking a log duplicate, elemental magic attacks, true invisbility, etc.

Wu Jen: This is just a slight re-skin of the wizard, so I don't think it deserves its own class, and it certainly doesn't work as a Ki class. It might work as a new Arcane or Elemental class if it broke free from its 3E version, though.

Sohei: This could either be a Ki class or a renamed Paladin. The name quite literally means "warrior monk", and I think the traditional Sohei are basically ascetic monks who fought like Samurai, so it is probably a pretty good name for a Ki class, if a bit unknown and generic... I can't even remember what the 3E Sohei were like...

Shugenja: Rokugan-style Shugenja are not a Ki class, but instead would be Arcane or Elemental, just like my preferred Ninja. However, the Shugenja of history were indistinguishable from Monks and Sohei, and didn't even resemble Rokugan Shugenja... As long as it is distanced from the Rokugan style, it would be a good name for a Ki class or variant of another Ki class.

Samurai (again): The issue with the Samurai is that I can easily see a class named the Samurai as a Martial class that doesn't rely on the supernatural effects of Ki. Of course, a Samurai as Martial Defender seems a bit redundant (though a dedicated armored archer class would be cool), but as I mentioned elsewhere on these forums recently, I can see the Samurai as a Martial Controller counterpart to the Warlord, based on intimidation and fear effects.

Overall, most of the actual class concepts I imagine working as Ki are Swordsage/Monk/Samurai variants that fit into different roles and pop-culture archetypes. That one set of concepts is flexible enough to make a large number of classes out of. Trying to force other ideas into the Ki Power Source seems a bit unnecessary to me.
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Exactly! So why should there be a ki-based Shugenja class? It doesn't make sense (to me). They'd probably make more sense as a representative of the elemental power source.

Because it makes sense (to me).

Wikipedia said:
Modern shugenja in Japan and throughout the world are known to self-actualize their spiritual power in experiential form through challenging and rigorous ritualistic tests of courage and devotion known as shugyo.

Wikipedia said:
Yamabushi began as yamahoshi, isolated clusters (or individuals) of mountain hermits, ascetics, and "holy men", who followed the path of shugendō, a search for spiritual, mystical, or supernatural powers gained through asceticism.

Shugenja practice mysticism and asceticism. Very close to monks, really. I don't see why they need an "elemental power source" any more than monks need a "punching and kicking" power source. Ki is just a flavor of supernatural power, one which is reasonably related to shugenja in history, myth, and role-playing games.


First Post
Because it makes sense (to me).

Shugenja practice mysticism and asceticism. Very close to monks, really. I don't see why they need an "elemental power source" any more than monks need a "punching and kicking" power source. Ki is just a flavor of supernatural power, one which is reasonably related to shugenja in history, myth, and role-playing games.
What I mentioned a moment ago bears repeating: there are two idea of the "Shugenja": the historical one (that Wikipedia describes) and the Rokugan one (that most people think of when talking about D&D). They are very different, and arguments about one being Ki does not necessarily mean anything regarding the other. The historical can work as Ki (it is hardly different than the traditional Monk), but the Rokugan much more closely resembles Arcane, Divine, or the unknown Elemental Power Source.

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