5E Monk/Rogue MultiClass Help

vulcan_idic

Explorer
Hello,

I’m building a character for a summer swashbuckling campaign and I think I want to do a Monk X/Rogue (Scout) 3 - Starting the campaign as 5th level characters. We’re a pirate/smuggler morally questionable crew. I’m envisioning a Triton character with effectively a Navy SEAL background (Sailor crunch with Naval twisted Soldier flavor). I’m torn between Shadow, 4 Elements, and Kensai for the Monk subclass. I like that the Monk speed boost also applies to my swim speed - Triton Torpedo. Thoughts and advice would be great, TIA!
 

Esker

Explorer
I agree that shadow gives you the best subclass features, but Scout doesn't mesh that well with monk in general, if you ask me, particularly if monk is going to be the primary class. The Skirmisher feature is mainly useful for a ranged combatant, since it keeps your bonus action free to hide (or take a shot with a hand crossbow, if you have crossbow expert) instead of having to disengage to get out of melee. And if you're staying at range, some central monk features are unusable (flurry of blows, stunning strike). Others are redundant (step of the wind is reduced to "spend a ki point to jump farther"). Shadow step is nice, and you might want to use patient defense sometimes instead of hiding or attacking with your bonus action. But you're mixing an archery-oriented subclass with a punching class. On balance, I'd rather ignore Skirmisher than ignore all those nice monk features, so if the extra expertise of Scout is worth more to you than what you could get with a different rogue subclass, go for it, and I'd lean toward a melee build.

But maybe worth considering Swashbuckler, which has some nice synergy with monk: fancy footwork gives you a free quasi-disengage without eating up your bonus action, leaving it free to spend ki points to do something (plus, if you target multiple creatures between your main attack and one or more bonus action unarmed strikes, none of them can make AoOs against you).

If going swashbuckler, I'd probably lean toward Kensei: it lets you use a rapier as a monk weapon, which would become magical at monk 6. And once you get extra attack, if you are able to land your sneak attack on the first attack with your rapier, you can make an unarmed strike with your second attack for a +2 to AC.

Keep in mind that even though monks can use dexterity with any monk weapon, you still need to use a bona fide finesse weapon to qualify for sneak attack.
 

vulcan_idic

Explorer
I opted for Scout largely because I liked what Survivalist added and because of the Special Ops feel that it had. Skirmisher I saw as a way of keeping myself from getting overwhelmed as a striker without too much beefiness. I'm happy to get up and battle one-on-one, but when the second or third foe approaches, or I get flanked Skirmisher allows me to re-position myself in the melee fight where I can still be in melee but not swarmed. And the ability to move half my movement is made especially useful when I have the Monk's unarmed movement rate. Already at 5th level as a Monk 2/Rogue 3 I'm moving as fast as a Scout would at 9th level when they got Superior Mobility and my speed will keep improving.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Hello,

I’m building a character for a summer swashbuckling campaign and I think I want to do a Monk X/Rogue (Scout) 3 - Starting the campaign as 5th level characters. We’re a pirate/smuggler morally questionable crew. I’m envisioning a Triton character with effectively a Navy SEAL background (Sailor crunch with Naval twisted Soldier flavor). I’m torn between Shadow, 4 Elements, and Kensai for the Monk subclass. I like that the Monk speed boost also applies to my swim speed - Triton Torpedo. Thoughts and advice would be great, TIA!
Drunken Master Monk does a Disengage whenever they use Flurry of Blows, if you’re willing to look outside of those three.

Kensei is especially fun if the game allows guns.

Shadow has a ton of utility, and pass without trace is cool for a seal team.

4 Elements can be a lot of fun, but I recommend reducing all ki costs by 1, to a minimum of 1 ki. Makes it roughly 1/spell level, matching the cost of Shadow Monk Spells.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Also, Kensei/scout does allow you to be a sniper who can’t be pinned down, if that’s what you want. If you wanna stab without being pinned down, seriously look at Drunken Master, and remember that it doesn’t actually involve/require ACTUAL drunkenness.
 

Esker

Explorer
I opted for Scout largely because I liked what Survivalist added and because of the Special Ops feel that it had. Skirmisher I saw as a way of keeping myself from getting overwhelmed as a striker without too much beefiness. I'm happy to get up and battle one-on-one, but when the second or third foe approaches, or I get flanked Skirmisher allows me to re-position myself in the melee fight where I can still be in melee but not swarmed. And the ability to move half my movement is made especially useful when I have the Monk's unarmed movement rate. Already at 5th level as a Monk 2/Rogue 3 I'm moving as fast as a Scout would at 9th level when they got Superior Mobility and my speed will keep improving.
Fair enough! I didn't realize you'd already been playing this character. I'm a big fan of expertise, so Survivalist is definitely appealing. And yeah, there's definite value in offloading the "dip away" part of the round to your reaction instead of your bonus action, since you have so many other things to use your bonus action for besides disengaging, even if it does mean taking one attack first.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Also scout is great for melee rogues, too. Being a melee rogue is dangerous, and your bonus action is valuable. Scout and Swashbuckler can bypass that problem better than other subclasses.
 

Esker

Explorer
Also scout is great for melee rogues, too. Being a melee rogue is dangerous, and your bonus action is valuable. Scout and Swashbuckler can bypass that problem better than other subclasses.
True, though Swashbuckler bypasses it better than Scout does, IMO, especially if you have a mobility boost, and especially if you can make a lot of attacks (as a monk does), since you can move away on your own turn instead of waiting until after a creature attacks you, and you don't have to use up your reaction to do it. The reaction use is less of an issue if stopping at Rogue 3, since uncanny dodge isn't in play, but it's still something. If ranged, you'd rather have Skirmisher, since you're not wanting to be making the melee attacks that proc fancy footwork.

In any case the other level 3 subclass feature favors Scout: extra expertise is better than a small (or possibly nonexistent) initiative boost.
 

vulcan_idic

Explorer
Drunken Master Monk does a Disengage whenever they use Flurry of Blows, if you’re willing to look outside of those three.

Kensei is especially fun if the game allows guns.

Shadow has a ton of utility, and pass without trace is cool for a seal team.

4 Elements can be a lot of fun, but I recommend reducing all ki costs by 1, to a minimum of 1 ki. Makes it roughly 1/spell level, matching the cost of Shadow Monk Spells.
Also, Kensei/scout does allow you to be a sniper who can’t be pinned down, if that’s what you want. If you wanna stab without being pinned down, seriously look at Drunken Master, and remember that it doesn’t actually involve/require ACTUAL drunkenness.
Drunken Master might be interesting... maybe reflavor it to something like Art of Sea Legs or something similar! I might ask the DM to let me trade the proficiency with brewers supplies for proficiency with Carpenter's tools (for working on repairing the ship I'm assigned to.
 

vulcan_idic

Explorer
Not long, just one session really - the campaign started at 5th level - but it's been a character living in the back of my mind a while.

It seems like doctorbadwolf's suggestion of Drunken Master might help with this where I could switch between using Drunken Technique and Skirmisher depending on what else is going on. In both cases they involve taking an attack first probably, unless the movement that brings the for near is taken after they attack someone else, but both will enable me to be a very slippery and mobile combatant.
 

Esker

Explorer
It seems like doctorbadwolf's suggestion of Drunken Master might help with this where I could switch between using Drunken Technique and Skirmisher depending on what else is going on. In both cases they involve taking an attack first probably, unless the movement that brings the for near is taken after they attack someone else, but both will enable me to be a very slippery and mobile combatant.
You wouldn't need to take an attack first if using Drunken Technique, would you? Seems like your M.O. could be: camp out 25' or so away from the action; move in, attack, flurry of blows (increasing your speed to 50'), move back out. You could still be attacked by a single enemy if they decide to chase you down, but likely that means one of your allies making an AoO. If they chase you down anyway, you can use your Skirmisher reaction to move 20' further back, putting you out of reach of any other enemies, and setting you up to go back in and attack the now-isolated enemy on your turn.
 

vulcan_idic

Explorer
You wouldn't need to take an attack first if using Drunken Technique, would you? Seems like your M.O. could be: camp out 25' or so away from the action; move in, attack, flurry of blows (increasing your speed to 50'), move back out. You could still be attacked by a single enemy if they decide to chase you down, but likely that means one of your allies making an AoO. If they chase you down anyway, you can use your Skirmisher reaction to move 20' further back, putting you out of reach of any other enemies, and setting you up to go back in and attack the now-isolated enemy on your turn.
Great tactics! I keep forgetting that 5E has the Spring Attack/move before and after attacks thing for everyone without a feat.
 

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