Ehhh... Yes and no. Yes, the monk is poorly designed. No, I honestly don't think that grappling is part of the monk class fantasy, so its kind of ignored. Because of that, I don't think we can say "master of unarmed combat" is the monk's niche.This is because the monk is poorly designed.
Fists should be on par with weapons with the monk. I believe we do agree on that much. I just feel that it should be a choice - fisting for those who like fisting, and weapons for those who like weapons.Yes, many martial arts movies have people using weapons. Many of them also DON'T have them using weapons. If they are just incredible weapon using characters... why aren't they fighters? Fighter's cover this aesthetic.
I'm arguing that their particular brand of mysticism is actually central to the fantasy of the monk. More so than just fist and no armor.Take Avatar for example, yes, it involves people throwing water and fire around. It is also based on martial arts, and only two or three main characters primarily use any sort of weapons.... and those are the characters who CAN'T bend the elements. It is more of a crutch.
Yes, there is a mystical aspect, but that SHOULD be present in other classes. That isn't unique to the monk.
Agreed. The monk needs to be better designed to fill its niche.
We just need to agree on what said niche is.
Fair enough, I misunderstood what you said.I never said the monk was overachieving at unarmed combat. No, they need to be redesigned. They are overachieving in fiction. Fighter is "the guy that fights, but not when angry, and not when pious, and not with magic, except when he does". If that is acceptable fiction for a class, then the monk "I am the master of my body, and using my body as a weapon" is plenty of fiction.
Here's the thing. You are creating an arbitrary line between what happens narratively and what happens mathematically. When, in truth, they are linked.To semi-quote a show I'm watching now, the main character needs to learn how to let their inner energy flow around their body, so when they strike the enemy they send that energy into the enemy to damage them from the inside out.
So... dealing additional damage, on a hit.... probably based on a limited resource? How does that not describe the exact mechanics of spending a spell slot to deal extra dice of damage? Are you seriously going to try and claim that because the spell is called "DIVINE" that the mechanics are somehow different?
Meanwhile, sending energy inside of an enemy does have a parallel in the game - the Mercy monk spending ki to deal extra damage on a hit. That subclass is the one meant to embody the fantasy of monks sending energy into an opponent to heal or harm them. Indeed, this is very similar to a smite. There's quite a bit of overlap with paladins and Mercy monks.
This is fundamentally different from how monks based on Avatar, or the like, act. Or should have mechanically represented. A smite feels fundamentally different from hitting someone with a blow to the head to stun them when you're playing a game.
As I've said elsewhere, vibes matter.
Well, lets ask this. Where does that +2 ac come from? Like, if its coming from picking up a shield... you are NOT getting it from precognition or growing scales. You don't randomly get +AC out of nowhere. The fiction comes first (picking up a shield), which gives you a mathematical bonus. There's implications to holding a shield that are different from supernatural dodging or growing scales.This is the point. You can take the lore and the fiction... and reflavor them. Heck, Eldritch Smite was an attempt to do this. It is literally Divine Smite, but powered by a warlock pact. The mechanics of Divine Smite aren't tied to some deep lore and thematics... they are spend resource do more damage.
What does +2 AC mean? Do I get a bonus to AC for magical forcefields? The Power of Faith? Preternatural dodging ability from future sight? Growing scales across my body? +2 AC can be any story we want it to be. The important part is the mechanics of it, not the story we attach.
You want to strip all the numbers of any meaning, which is not how the game works at a base level. There's some wiggle room, sure, not everything is set in stone, but you're advocating for an extreme. An extreme that has ripple effects not intended.
Monk AC is based in part on wisdom because that's the attribtue that governs perception and esoteric insight. As a result, monks have insight into physiology and awareness of the world around them.
Dragon sorcerer AC is the result of scales growing on their skin, and are tied to the idea of elemental resistance they get later on. You cannot peel scales off a monk to make dragonscale armor. There's a very strong argument that you can with the sorcerer.
If someone is arguing that they should get AC from seeing the future, I would not allow them to sit at a roulette table and see the future of where the ball will land, even if it fits the rationale they have with AC. Assuming no other divination-based abilities at least. "I can see the future, so dodge well" has implications.
There are limits to "flavor is free."
The collection of mechanics exist to create a certain fantasy - a certain vibe, if you will. Your arguments center around completely ignoring that vibe, which... the vast majority of players and DMs do not do. You say its not hard. In truth? Most people don't like doing that, as it completely ruins the feel of the class.It just isn't that hard to take a collection of mechanical features and reverse engineer the fictional logic to make them make sense.
And the feel, the vibe, the fantasy? Its EVERYTHING in a TTRPG like this. You might be fine with taking "flavor is free" to an extreme that the majority of gamers balk at. Others aren't. Indeed, we tend to see the opposite - large amounts of backlash when something is mechanically stepping beyond the class fantasy.
Hells, we have the phrase "class fantasy" and "tropes" specifically because they're so important.
You are arguing that you can erase the class fantasy and just use the mechanics to recreate whatever fantasy you want. But you are missing that a perfect bleaching of mechanics like that is impossible. There are always implications to mechancis that, in order for this to work that you have to just ignore. Mechanics don't just exist in a vacuum.