D&D (2024) Monk Playtest

mellored

Legend
Just going to add that rogues (thief) got extra bonus actions in the play test.

So it's not out of line for monks to get it too. (Or reactions)
 

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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Also, the One playtest has me kind of not very excited about the Solasta patch with Monk, Bard, and Warlock. I want the new rules!
 

Njall

Explorer
So here is my short list of the issues with the monk. I do not think the monk is as bad off as people often complain about, but it does need some love.
  • Remove or reduce the scaling of unarmed strike damage. This is legacy from 3e and doesn't work in the more bounded accuracy series of 5e. Monk fists should do respectable damage at 1st level, and not crazy damage at 20th. A monk shouldn't need a quarterstaff to be able to compete in combat.
  • Stunning fist should be weaker, and the rest of the monk made stronger (right now too much of the monk's power is pushed into this one mechanic).
  • Their ki for dodge ability should be some kind of reaction. Forcing the monk to spend precious resources on a defense ability it might not need in a round is an unfun mechanic and it creates too much of a strain on offense versus defense.
  • The monk could use some ability to convert their speed into X during a turn. Speed is a very DM dependent thing, in some games the DM makes that high speed almost vital, in other games, its basically a ribbon. It would be nice to have a meatier, more mechanical way to use speed that is more consistently useful for the monk. Or perhaps you combine this with your patient defense concept, to get something like:
    • Speedy Defense (replaces Patient Defense): The monk has learned to channel their incredible speed into evading danger. At the start of the monk's turn, they can forgo their unarmored movement bonus and gain a +1 to AC. The monk is not required to move to gain this bonus. The bonus increases to +2 at 10th level, and +3 at 18th level (aka when you gain +10 feet of speed).
  • Better self-healing (as I noted in a previous post).
  • Probably should divorce their AC from stats, as it creates too much of a stat dependency on the class right now to be combat competent. All monks just HAVE to have high dex and wis to feel competent.

I'll have to disagree with a couple of your points, here.

1) the scaling of Unarmed damage with level is very much in line with Bounded Accuracy, IMHO. In fact, the idea behind BH was that leveling up would increase damage numbers and HP rather than attack bonuses (especially before proficiency bonuses were introduced halfway through the playtest process). Whether the scaling is adequate is another matter, tho.

2)About patient defense requiring a Ki point: honestly, I don't dislike it as a feature. Games are usually about evaluating a situation and making the correct decision. Choosing whether you should allocate your resources offensively or defensively isn't a bad thing, especially in a game like 5e, that's sorely lacking on the "tactical choices for martial characters" front. On the contrary, I'd argue that "just spam whatever you can on your round and only make obvious choices" makes for dull gameplay. YMMV, obviously.

I more or less agree with your remaining observations :)
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
2)About patient defense requiring a Ki point: honestly, I don't dislike it as a feature. Games are usually about evaluating a situation and making the correct decision. Choosing whether you should allocate your resources offensively or defensively isn't a bad thing, especially in a game like 5e, that's sorely lacking on the "tactical choices for martial characters" front. On the contrary, I'd argue that "just spam whatever you can on your round and only make obvious choices" makes for dull gameplay. YMMV, obviously.

As I have expressed in many threads, while I agree philosophically here, when it comes to implementation I would love to see more martial abilities treated different from magical abilities.

The core trade-off made with spells and other magical abilities is to use a resource now or save it for later. That is, you get a good thing now in exchange for a bad thing (not having the resource) later.

Some martial abilities (Reckless Attacks is my favorite example) work differently: you can use it both now and later; the trade-off is between a good thing (e.g. advantage on your attack rolls) and a bad thing (enemies having advantage against you) that both occur now.

(In some ways what I dislike about the change to dual-wielding is that it removes the trade-off, for rogues, between getting an offhand attack and doing something else with the bonus action. That said, it buffs melee rogues relative to archer rogues, and I think that's needed.)

So my issue with patient defense is that it's basically the caster model: you have a pool of a resource to spend, and it would be a benefit on almost any round it's used, so the 'game' is just deciding if it would be more useful now or later, with almost no information on which to base that decision. It's a game of 'what are the fewest number of resources I need to spend to win this fight.' And that's the caster model of play.

I would love to see the monk designed so that you can use patient defense whenever you want, but it costs you something other than a resource, with implications for the current round, to do so.
 

Clint_L

Hero
Okay, so I love that last suggestion. Here is where I am currently at:

1. Bump their unarmed attacks by one die (i.e. start them at a D6)
2. Make Step of the Wind and Patient Defence available as bonus actions, starting at Level 2.
3. Add proficiency bonus to Ki points, and make Ki+flurry of Blows available from Level 1
4. Make sure that every subclass includes a competitive use of Ki right from Level 3
5. Put some kind of limit on Stunning Strike (once per round?) (although if players have more choices per 4, that might not be a problem anymore)
 
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Stalker0

Legend
1) the scaling of Unarmed damage with level is very much in line with Bounded Accuracy, IMHO. In fact, the idea behind BH was that leveling up would increase damage numbers and HP rather than attack bonuses (especially before proficiency bonuses were introduced halfway through the playtest process). Whether the scaling is adequate is another matter, tho.
If we compare it to other martials though it doesn't fit. Almost all martials start the game with a 1d8 damage and some defense (shield), or 2d6 if they want to commit to high offense. However, there damage generally only scales through more attacks, there are very few true "straight damage buffs" except through a few subclasses.
 

Clint_L

Hero
Yeah, there are a ton of problems comparing monk damage to other martial classes. The unarmed die takes forever to get reasonable - starting with a d4 is terrible and makes it barely better than an unarmed attack. On top of that, other martial classes have a lot more avenues to stack damage, such as rage bonus, smite, duelist, etc. And they have access to magic weapons, which are few and far between for monks and basically nonexistent for unarmed attacks.

An unarmed martial artist kicking total butt is a pop culture staple and it is really weird that D&D makes it so hard to achieve.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Because monks add their Dex bonus to their martial arts attacks their numbers can be decent, but it does kind of suck that to optimize your damage you have to use a weapon for so many levels.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Yeah, there are a ton of problems comparing monk damage to other martial classes. The unarmed die takes forever to get reasonable - starting with a d4 is terrible and makes it barely better than an unarmed attack. On top of that, other martial classes have a lot more avenues to stack damage, such as rage bonus, smite, duelist, etc. And they have access to magic weapons, which are few and far between for monks and basically nonexistent for unarmed attacks.

An unarmed martial artist kicking total butt is a pop culture staple and it is really weird that D&D makes it so hard to achieve.
Monk adds strength or dex to all of their attacks, it adds up pretty considerably.
  • Greatsword 16 str L1: 7+3=10
  • Greatsword 20 str L5:2*(7+5)=24
  • +1 Greatsword 20 str L11: 3*(8+5)=39
  • +1 Greatsword 20 str L20:4*(8+5)=52
"...
You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the
attack and damage rolls of your unarmed strikes and
monk weapons.
...
You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage
o f your unarm ed strike or monk weapon. This die
changes as you gain monk levels, as shown in the
Martial Arts column of the Monk table.
...
W hen you use the Attack action with an unarmed
strike or a monk weapon on your turn, you can make
one unarmed strike as a bonus action."
  • quarterstaff 16 dex L1: (2.5+3)+(3.5+3)=12 & 1 Ki/long or short rest <- This is more than the fighter at this level
  • Quarterstaff 18 dex L5:2*(3.5+4)+3.5+4=24.5 & 5 Ki/long or short rest <- This too is more than the fighter at this level
  • +1 Quarterstaff 20 dex L11: 2*(4.5+5)+4.5+5=35.5 &11 Ki/long or short rest <-- an average DPR that is four whole points behind that of the fighter.
  • +1 Quarterstaff 20 dex L20:2*(5.5+5)+5.5+5=38.5 &20 Ki/long or short rest <-- 13.5 points behind the fighter but assuming the expected 2 short rests/long rest it should have 60 points of Ki for flurry or stunning strike. How could anyone manage with only sixty ki when they need to ration a mere 7-10 points each of the expected 6-8 encounters?
Seems pretty comparable when you factor in the ability to drop stunning strike whenever beefy elite or caster types are on the field once fighter damage pulls ahead on the at will no cost damage.
 
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