D&D General Monk: The Past, Present, and Questionable Future of an Iconic Class


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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
In the movie he learned from an Italian guy wearing "yellow-face".
So in The Conqueror (1956) an Iowan kidnaps the daughter of a powerful Tartar king and seizes control of his empire? (BTW, is Joel Grey Italian? I know he's of Jewish background).
 
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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
The Monk never belonged in D&D proper. It's throwing Liu Kang into LotR. It only happened because the money guys behind TSR (the Blumes) wanted Gary to include Grasshopper from Kung-Fu into their D&D campaign. Just say no to the money-man and see what happens. It is %$@$^!% ridiculous to see Ryu fighting alongside D&D fighters, wizards, rogues and whatever else class that better fits that kinda-Medieval setting players are in :ROFLMAO: Like WHY is this happening? Oh yeah because Brian Blume said so a generation ago. I WISH Gary had said 'Yanno I've made my money. !%^$ your idea and I'm retiring'. Instead we get these WHAT IF episodes of Goku with Legolas, Conan, Dr. Strange and Jack Sparrow. WoTC just make it stop. Well yes:: differing opinion and maybe thou dost loveth monks. Karate*Chop ON!
Why would WotC stop anything? They're making a lot of money, and they don't make decisions that they think would negatively impact that. Getting rid of off-theme player options is just such a decision.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
No actually YOU SAYING the Monk fits wherever you want Kung-Fu Joe to go is okay is the definition of One-True Wayism. It's saying 'No. You can't say No to Monks.' Which is $%&^@(. Of course I can say no to Monks. Unless I'm at your table where I might get forced to play a Monk if I want to play a Fighter who gets down unarmed. Get your BS labels right.
If you can say no at your own table, then I don't see the problem. Other people's games shouldn't matter to you.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Well that's because the western monk was obviously divine but a lot of people overlook the oriental monk is completly divine. The entire idea of the eastern monk is someone who follows the edicts of heaven and as a result become's one with reality. Eventually gaining mastery of reality itself in thier own bubble. With the advent of Buddism becoming so powerful Budda even took a place in the celestial heirachy as the moral compass of the gods in the upper realm since even they don't know what the creator wants from them.

Watch the movie the sorcerer and the white snake wth Jet Li. It give's you a very good look at the chinese vision of a truly holy monk (who gets his power from his holiness, not the gods, not the creator just being completely in tune with the creators reality and rules.)

But if you are looking at myths and historical monks there aren't any western one's or oriental ones that i know of that aren't divine.

Now some people like martial arts movies and want the monk to be Bruce Lee. Problem is Bruce Lee at his most bad ass kind've sucks in any DND version past level 6.
That last point is true of any bad-ass normal. At some point, you have to throw in the supernatural and the superhuman to keep up.
 


Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
If you can say no at your own table, then I don't see the problem. Other people's games shouldn't matter to you.

I couldn't agree more. We need to nomalize no.

People are always taking advantage of your inability to say no. Asking to borrow your power tools. Wanting to borrow ten dollars. Asking if they can get a ride to the airport. Requesting to play a bard ... A BARD!

Just. Say. No. Like a lot of things from the 80s, we need this to make a comeback.

Normalize no. Trust me, saying no ... it feels good. In fact, it feels so good I often say no even to things I would agree with!
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I read that thread, and as you might tell from the OP, it informed some of what I wrote. I think people are doing good work in there! Well, despite the occasional sniping that is part and parcel of life on the 'tubez.

That said ... (you knew it was coming!) the thing I've been thinking about, and the genesis of the thread, was when I was thinking about my feelings about the monk, and why these changes felt especially off to me. And I think it's for two reasons.

The first is that some of proposed changes genuinely don't make sense to me, especially in light of the increased emphasis on "buffing" martials (with Weapon Properties, no less). It made me think about how the whiteroom combat theory about the Monk tends to get a lot of things wrong, and the original sin is that it tends to overvalue weaponless combat and undervalue the inability to use magic weapons or magic armor - and how MAD the Monk is compared to other martials.

Second, and more important, was the realization that the changes were really all about combat. And I think that's where I really started dwelling on the problem with the class, which is a little different than most of what is written. As I wrote, I love the monk. It's a fun and different martial character to play. But here's the thing- there's already a better fighter (the, um, fighter). There's a better tank (the barbarian). There's two classes that are both martial and a lot more versatile (Rangers and Paladins). And there's even a class that does better surge damage with out-of-combat utility (the Rogue).

And that's when I realized what the real issue is. It's not combat, or, not mainly combat. The monk will always have a great niche as the fun, mobile, squishy melee character. The problem is that the monk is being completely combat-focused.

Think about it- it's both MAD and often dumps charisma, so your Monk will usually be the last choice for any social interaction.
The Monk (unlike Rogues, Bards, Artificers, and even Tasha's Rangers) doesn't have expertise as an option, so it won't ever be great at skills.
Because the Monk is MAD, and needs high wisdom and dexterity just for AC, it is hard to justify feats; moreover, most don't help the Monk greatly (unlike some of the weapons feats).
Heck, the Monk is a class with a super high dexterity, yet almost exclusively uses melee combat (which circles around to the issues with hit points and AC).

I've played a lot of Monks, and they can be fun at combat, but they often twiddle their thumbs at everything else. Even things they should be good at (like scouting) they will often take a backseat to classes like the Rogue with expertise. The UA simply confirms and increases this trend by orienting them even more towards combat, but continuing to make them the designated second-class martials.

Which is fine. Monks don't have to "outfight" the fighter. But they have to do something. Heck, even basic things like the fact that most Monks suck at athletics is kind of a kick in the cojones when you're playing them.

Given Monks cool abilities. Give them more ribbons. Instead of worrying about their combat (which is ... fine) let the Monk get some skill certainty, whether through expertise or fixed abilities. As far as combat abilities go, and with the new ki ("di") regeneration, the combat abilities of the Monk are fine, albeit with the need of some tweaking. I'd like to see some thought put into fixing the other aspects of the Monk that are glaringly obvious in play- everything from "why do Monks suck at athletics," to "What are Monks supposed to do in real campaigns when other party members are using magic swords and magic armor and feats to be all awesome while the Monk is still stuck at the whiteroom theory level of DPR?"
If WotC thought people would spend more money on the game if PCs had more out of combat utility parity, I'm sure they would address it. Clearly, they don't think that.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
If WotC thought people would spend more money on the game if PCs had more out of combat utility parity, I'm sure they would address it. Clearly, they don't think that.

Two economists are walking down the street, and they come across a $20 bill.

The younger economist says, "Hey, look, it's twenty dollars!"

The older economist shakes his head at the younger economist, and scoffingly replies, "That's nonsense. If there was a twenty-dollar bill in the middle of the street, someone would have already picked it up by now."
 

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