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

I would argue that batman in the Animated Versions is a rogue....and I think that's part of the problem.
lets be honest Batman is a fighter rouge monk artificer
The modern identity issue of the monk in 5e is its a rogue wannabe more than a fighter wannabe. The monk is fast....but the rogue can bonus action dash at will. The monk is evasive, except the rogue gets evasion AND uncanny dodge. The monk is acrobatic, but a rogue with expertise is more so.
yeah the rogue with d8 HD and getting half damage form 1 hit per turn can tank better then some d10 classes.
In terms of the core "ninja esque martial arts guy".... the rogue just does it better. So to differentiate, the monk should go Wuxia. It should be completely mystical, and yes in 5e terms that means it probably shoudl have more spells (I know some people hate that but that's how 5e does the job).

If you want to play a more grounded martial arts, play a rogue or a fighter. Give them unarmed strike as a ribbon and your good to go. A monk should be the anime esque Wuxia motiff, because right now its just a badly watered down rogue.
I wonder if there is an unarmed rogue subclass that could pull it off
 

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Stalker0

Legend
You could draw some inspiration from Monte Cook's "Oathsworn", an alt monk in his Arcana Evolved book back in the 3e days. I played one for a long time myself.

The concept was a character so driven by their goals (aka their oath) that they became almost supernaturally resistant to a variety of things. Their combat strength was not stellar, but they gradually became immune to more and more conditions....paralysis, stunning, exhaustion, eventually they didn't need to eat, drink, sleep or even breathe at higher levels. They also could resist the dangerous effects of natural terrain (aka you could hang out in the plane of negative energy and not just die).

It was a fun class to play, my group often called me "cinematically overpowered". In combat I was actually not very good, but I was so good at surviving and "sticking around" I could always go where the plot was, so I was involved in everything.
 

nevin

Hero
Oe monks from Blackmoor had d4 HD.

1e AD&D monks had 2d4 HD at 1st level then 1d4 HD per level afterwards.

2e AD&D had a couple options for doing monks but most were priest classes with the same HD as clerics and from there that was mostly the model for following editions with HD matching clerics.

Given what hit points represent giving them and thieves low hp seemed wrong to me.
well the concept for monks becomes solid at about 10th level in 1st edition. Unfortunately you end up with a squishy 1 to 6th level character that gets ok'er at 7 ,8,9. the 1 to 9 monk never really played well. I think it was probably the most table ruled class in the game. I didn't know anyone that dm's monks by straight rules. they sucked till they were great it was just a bad design. The most common things I saw changed were letting them wear magic rings and amulets of protection to bump up armor class and giving them extra damage. My solution was let them have str damage. GIve a3rd level monk Gauntlets of ogre power in 1e and the damage bonus to strength and he can go toe to toe with a fighter if his Ac is boosted a bit.

I think the classes biggest problem also haunts the Ranger. There are at least 3 different view's of the class and the pitfights over which one to use keep destroying all the modified new variants .
 

ad_hoc

(they/them)
I agree about non-combat stuff.

The way of shadow was the best designed monk subclass.

With pass without trace, high movement, a feather fall like ability, and an at-will teleport they were better at sneaking than a rogue.

Give the monk a bunch of abilities to choose from like the warlock gets with invocations.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
What a great OP. Thank you for that.

The monk class could be really cool. Unfortunately, even in combat, they don't get to do monk stuff very often.....

I'd like a monk that moves around the battle and pushes and pulls and stuns and dazes and whatevers an opponent (or opponents that are standing close). I want wuxia for the most part out of this class......

Out of combat? Well, you can come up with all kinds of things if you want, but WotC doesn't really seem interested in that (and, in fairness, I think this game is still more combat than not, YTMV, of course (table may vary))
 

Moonmover

Explorer
ok Remo Williams dodged bullets even when the gun was in his face, ran on water and wet cement ripped metal doors out of thier frames, became invisible to people because he decided they couldn't see him, could hold his breath for an hour, flipped over a tank, outran a car At least in the book I barely remember the movie but it wasn't much different. he was trained by an Eastern Monk in a secret martial art maintained by a secret society that had existed since before the pharoe's he was a Western person who had the Chi to become an Eastern monk. Nothing non magical or even close to human level abilities about him. He was a pulp fiction Eastern Monk with comic book level abilities.
Good. Excellent that's what I want.
Monk is by far the most 'specifically influenced' class - there is exactly one (1) order of monks that practice martial arts and that is the Shaolin.
Hardly. I'm linking to an article about the Japanese  sōhei only because they are one of the most dramatic examples (the monk-led Ikko Ikki, operating out of fortified monasteries, drove back samurai forces and came to control several provinces of Japan in the 16th Century). There are many other examples of war-like monks having real geopolitical impact throughout Asian history. As far as I know, they had no magical powers, but it would be cool if they did.

In contrast, there were twelve paladins, ever. I'm not saying that should mean we cut the paladin class; I am saying that commonality in the real world should not be a major consideration.
 

nevin

Hero
And the original Paladin was just a truly dedicated knight who was beyond reproach. Holiness had nothing to do with the concept till the church in thier rewrite of all mythology decided to coopt them as holy warriors of god.
 

nevin

Hero
What a great OP. Thank you for that.

The monk class could be really cool. Unfortunately, even in combat, they don't get to do monk stuff very often.....

I'd like a monk that moves around the battle and pushes and pulls and stuns and dazes and whatevers an opponent (or opponents that are standing close). I want wuxia for the most part out of this class......

Out of combat? Well, you can come up with all kinds of things if you want, but WotC doesn't really seem interested in that (and, in fairness, I think this game is still more combat than not, YTMV, of course (table may vary))
why would WOTC start deaing with out of combat stuff. That TOTM stuff is better left to the players and DM to do it thier way.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
why would WOTC start deaing with out of combat stuff. That TOTM stuff is better left to the players and DM to do it thier way.
Um, well, there is the whole exploration pillar and the skills around social encounters. There are chase scenes. There are all kinds of DnD stories that aren't combat, so I really don't understand your question?
 


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