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D&D 5E Monks Suck

No, the guidance is not wrong. If the DMG recommends doing something a particular way and the DM decides to ignore that guidance, they should know there's going to be a problem. Which stunningly enough, there is.
Yeah, and that's the fault of the game designers, not the DM. The game designers should not force the DM to make a choice between breaking the fourth wall, throwing out a common and plausible adventure design, or hurting game balance. It's a choice that was never appropriate for the game to present, and understandably a lot of DMs are going to decide on 'there isn't going to be an hour of downtime between killing the evil king's generals and confronting the evil king in their throne room'.

Now: this is not even really a big problem for most classes. Except for the monk. A Warlock or a Fighter can still go on if they have to do two or even three combats without a short rest. The monk's the only class that makes it a big problem, rather than an annoyance. If the monk had more ki points or long rest resources to tap into, it'd just be an annoyance more impactful for some classes than others, rather than a game balance issue.
 

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Weird idea I know, but the Neverwinter Nights PC game introduced the idea of Monk Armor that monks could wear. Basically it's like the idea of Monk weapons, but with armor instead that didn't disable the Monk's Unarmored Defense in the 3.0(3.5 )ruleset the game used. Granted it's only light armor and there was no Monk Armors that were heavy. I'd have no probs introducing and using that idea but every time I think of having it scale off of Wisdom or Dex ala light armor, we still fall under the "Wis/Dex needs to be high" camp for AC again. If not for defense than for offense via Monk Weapon/Dex scaling.

Other ideas I wouldn't mind introducing would be Diadems that Monks could wear that offer bonus Ki and Magic Gauntlets/Greaves that can be classified as Monk Weapons so the Martial Arts can be used.
 

Dausuul

Legend
2) For the non-DPR things it does do, it doesn't do them well. If Stunning Strike targeted INT instead of CON saves, that would be itself completely change the dynamics of the class even with its other weaknesses. But it doesn't. In the long run, it's not a particularly reliable form of control due to its limitations (requires a hit with a low-damage melee weapon and forces a failed CON save).
This is precisely what I mean by "waving off all other factors as irrelevant." Where are your calculations to estimate the value of Stunning Strike compared to raw DPR? You don't even try. You just say things like "doesn't do them well" and "not a reliable form of control." That's not analysis. It's anecdotal evidence based on your personal experience. Which is fine, but it totally invalidates your claim to be offering more than anecdotes.

If you want to claim your position is backed up by the numbers, you have to run all the numbers. No short cuts--or, at least, only short cuts that both sides agree are reasonable. FrogReaver did some of the work on this by calculating the impact of a stun effect on party DPR. It doesn't account for the value of action denial, which is the most important part of stun, so it's far from the whole picture, but it's headed in the right direction.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Yeah, and that's the fault of the game designers, not the DM.

....

If the monk had more ki points or long rest resources to tap into, it'd just be an annoyance more impactful for some classes than others, rather than a game balance issue.

No, it's certainly the fault of the DM. Because the DM knows how the game is designed, and instead of trying to figure out a simple way to make it work is instead aggressively screwing over classes that don't fit the DM's narrative vision.

1. Make short rests five minutes, or at-will up to 2x per long rest.

2. Give the monk 3x the ki, and let the ki recharge on a long rest.

See? That is what a DM should do. Instead of saying that the DM's narrative demands that the DM cannot either follow the rules or accommodate the players.
 

Yeah, and that's the fault of the game designers, not the DM. The game designers should not force the DM to make a choice between breaking the fourth wall, throwing out a common and plausible adventure design, or hurting game balance.

Umm.. dude the designers dont do that.

Like the CRB (DMG) expressly has options to change rest variances to suit the narrative.

If you want 5 minute (or shorter) Short rests, go for it. If you want 1 week (or longer) long rests, then also go for it.

Whatever suits your narrative.
It's literally right there in the DMG.

Heck you could grant a short rest recharge every 2 encounters with every 3rd such recharge rest a long rest recharge if you wanted.

So it IS the fault of the DM. He obviously didnt read his own Guidebook on how to run the game, or if he did, he ignored what was written there, or is an idiot.
 

Esker

Hero
If I had to summarize this thread, I would identify two general groups (with exceptions in both cases, of course):

People with charts and graphs who say monks suck.

People with experience playing monks who say they are fine.

It's a bad look if the argument is, "Look, I don't care about your data --- I have my gut feelings!"

If you want to have any hope of having an objective comparison, you need to start with a common reference point, and that means using some kind of quantitative analysis. Otherwise the conversation can't progress, because people will just keep talking past each other insisting that their experience (colored by confirmation and availability bias) is representative.

The specific quantities analyzed and assumptions going in, those are fair game to disagree about. But the way to respond to an analysis that you think uses unhelpful assumptions and focuses on the wrong things is to do your own analysis that emphasizes the right things, while being up front and transparent about your assumptions. Not just keep moving the goalposts and waving your hands (I'm using 'you/your' here in a generic way, not specifically talking about you, Elfcrusher). Frogreaver did that, and contributed something useful to the discussion as a result --- for instance, the that the indirect damage from stunning strike is likely in the ballpark of the direct damage from flurry of blows, and so comparing to an optimal monk should probably assume most ki is used for stun attempts, rather than extra punches.
 

Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
We're all flawed in our logic here. There's numbers and anecdotes and predictions flying here, there, and everywhere but nobody wants to put in the time to obtain hard, statistical data.

Not DPR, not AC, not charts or graphs about predictions.

What we need are experiments. Not just combat experiments, either. We need to bring playtest adventures to the table and create a log on exactly everyone's effectiveness. That means a literal step-by-step analysis on what a character and DM is doing. Only then can we be conclusive about whether monks do or do not suck.


The relevant variables would include but not be limited to:

Damage taken
Damage given
Short rests taken
Long rests taken
Fun for players
Fun for DM's
Feature used
Spells used
Spell slots consumed

And there can be more variables. But to be frank, I'm sick of these estimations being lauded as facts when nobody has really done anything scientific to back up their claims. We've all just been pretending we really know how useful or useless any given feature is.
 

Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
It's a bad look if the argument is, "Look, I don't care about your data --- I have my gut feelings!"

If you want to have any hope of having an objective comparison, you need to start with a common reference point, and that means using some kind of quantitative analysis. Otherwise the conversation can't progress, because people will just keep talking past each other insisting that their experience (colored by confirmation and availability bias) is representative.

The specific quantities analyzed and assumptions going in, those are fair game to disagree about. But the way to respond to an analysis that you think uses unhelpful assumptions and focuses on the wrong things is to do your own analysis that emphasizes the right things, while being up front and transparent about your assumptions. Not just keep moving the goalposts and waving your hands (I'm using 'you/your' here in a generic way, not specifically talking about you, Elfcrusher). Frogreaver did that, and contributed something useful to the discussion as a result --- for instance, the that the indirect damage from stunning strike is likely in the ballpark of the direct damage from flurry of blows, and so comparing to an optimal monk should probably assume most ki is used for stun attempts, rather than extra punches.
But your quantifiable data is faulty, since it distills the natural variables of a game. We need experimentation and playtesting. Not charts and numbers.
 


This is precisely what I mean by "waving off all other factors as irrelevant." Where are your calculations to estimate the value of Stunning Strike compared to raw DPR? You don't even try. You just say things like "doesn't do them well" and "not a reliable form of control." That's not analysis. It's anecdotal evidence based on your personal experience. Which is fine, but it totally invalidates your claim to be offering more than anecdotes.
Do you want me to get you tables of tables of average saving throws and then put together plausible DC progressions of Stunning Strike? Something like rows of levels that compared average monster ACs and saving throws versus their likelihood of being stunned if Stunning Strike is used 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 times?

We can do that. If you have an objection to my proposed experiment (i.e. it doesn't account for mixed encounters of medium and low CRs) let me know.

And while you're protesting my claim of 'doesn't do them well', do you mind telling me the other things that monks bring to the table and why we should care about it? Like I said, the monk doesn't heal, throw things onto the battlefield, buff allies, etc.. I want to know what I'm not accounting for besides DPR.
 

But your quantifiable data is faulty, since it distills the natural variables of a game. We need experimentation and playtesting. Not charts and numbers.
What do you mean, experimentation and playtesting? How should the experiment be set up? Are we going to instruct 20 tables to run randomly-selected hardcover adventure from level 1 to 11 and then chart turn-by-turn details? This isn't a reasonable request as it is.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
We're all flawed in our logic here. There's numbers and anecdotes and predictions flying here, there, and everywhere but nobody wants to put in the time to obtain hard, statistical data.

Not DPR, not AC, not charts or graphs about predictions.

What we need are experiments. Not just combat experiments, either. We need to bring playtest adventures to the table and create a log on exactly everyone's effectiveness. That means a literal step-by-step analysis on what a character and DM is doing. Only then can we be conclusive about whether monks do or do not suck.


The relevant variables would include but not be limited to:

Damage taken
Damage given
Short rests taken
Long rests taken
Fun for players
Fun for DM's
Feature used
Spells used
Spell slots consumed

And there can be more variables. But to be frank, I'm sick of these estimations being lauded as facts when nobody has really done anything scientific to back up their claims. We've all just been pretending we really know how useful or useless any given feature is.

One such source might be Critical Role campaign 2 since one of the players is playing a monk. There are sites that analyze every aspect of that campaign. I suspect the data would be interesting and relevant (@Treantmonklvl20 actually refers to this data in his analysis).

Edit: of course this campaign doesn't use pregen adventures and the encounter design is far, far from the typical 6-8 encounter adventuring day but still - likely relevant.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
It's a bad look if the argument is, "Look, I don't care about your data --- I have my gut feelings!"

You're right. That would be a bad argument.

Except...that's not what the argument is. The argument is, "Your data makes a bunch of white room assumptions that don't model actual gameplay."

For example, maybe it's true that monks only do 80% (to throw a number out) as much damage as some other class. The argument is NOT, "No, that's wrong, my gut feel is that it's more like 105%". The argument is, "Whatever. When I actually play the game it's still fun, and we still kill stuff. So what's the problem?"
 


Esker

Hero
No, it's just you're measuring the wrong data (DPR).

That's not the Monks thing.

That's fine --- measure something else then. How about enemy turns denied per day, with some standard assumptions about number and lengths of fights? The important thing is to attempt some sort of objective comparison, otherwise we're just letting out hot air.
 

1. Make short rests five minutes, or at-will up to 2x per long rest.

2. Give the monk 3x the ki, and let the ki recharge on a long rest.

See? That is what a DM should do. Instead of saying that the DM's narrative demands that the DM cannot either follow the rules or accommodate the players.
Like the CRB (DMG) expressly has options to change rest variances to suit the narrative.

If you want 5 minute (or shorter) Short rests, go for it. If you want 1 week (or longer) long rests, then also go for it.

Whatever suits your narrative.
It's literally right there in the DMG.
It's 2020 and we're still doing the Oberoni Fallacy. I guess 'it's not a game balance problem if you use that optional rule that isn't necessary in 99% of games that don't have a monk' is progress, I guess.
 

Esker

Hero
You're right. That would be a bad argument.

Except...that's not what the argument is. The argument is, "Your data makes a bunch of white room assumptions that don't model actual gameplay."

As I told Flamestrike, that's fine, if you're countering with better assumptions and doing your own analysis. But nobody defending monks (other than Frogreaver) is doing that.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It's likely to be about every other round or so, in my experience, assuming a competent party that focuses fire. But I do agree that it's a useful addition. Using the bonus action for that in round 1 means you fall behind flurry-of-blows damage for that round, which is a little rough because the first round is the most important. Relative to a non-flurry round, you're about even --- 2d6 at the cost of 1d6+4, say. But if you flurry the next round, you gain 4d6 * (to-hit) damage --- maybe 9-10 or so on average. So you've increased your damage-per-round in the first two rounds by 4.5-5 or so. It's nice, for sure! Of course, you need to maintain concentration.
So does everyone else using Hex or Hunter's Mark. The monk, unlike most other guys, can on the next round throw out 4 attacks, conservatively at 2d6+3, and take down one of those weaker enemies your combats are apperently full of by themselves. I do have such enemies, but they're still very dangerous and they are support for 1-3 bigger, tougher, enemies.

I'm not sure 2d8+8 is a really relevant baseline for anybody. First of all that assumes a one-handed weapon, so martial characters either have dueling style, or reckless attack, or sneak attack... Dueling style becomes 2d8+12... reckless attack increases damage output by about 50%. And then we get into abilities that use resources but are close to being "at will", like Hex and Hunter's Mark --- they're a 1st level slot for an hour of use. By tier 2 that's pretty indistinguishable from an at-will ability. And then you get into subclass abilities, and feats...
LOL wow. So, Hex and Hunter's Mark is basically at-will, but you play down it's utility on the monk. Okay.

And no, it's not basically at-will. The claim is completely bonkers-level absurd. Every class has other stuff to use spell slots for, in and out of combat, and you never get a "basically at-will" number of first level slots.

I really think that you guys are playing a completely different game than those of us who are pushing back here. I haven't figured out entirely what the difference is, but a big part of it has to be combat design, use of terrain as both challenge and opportunity, etc, but...I don't think that's it.

the reason Treantmonk uses EB+AB+Hex as a baseline is that it's an extremely simple tactic that involves a relatively no-brainer investment (take agonizing blast), is essentially "at-will", and is on a class that has lots of other features that they can use alongside that baseline. It's a low bar for damage for a martial class, because they're not bringing the other features that a warlock brings, so they'd better be better at fighting than the warlock if we're going to consider them to be carrying their weight.

The problem with monks isn't that they have to spend resources, it's that the return on those resources is really low, and they don't have enough of them --- even assuming a standard number of short rests! --- to go toe-to-toe with anybody else in terms of their bottom line contribution.
oof man.
So, the Monk "sucks" if you assume a CharOp heavy game where things always go the way they're assumed to go in a white room analysis.

Nope.



A battle with creatures that go down in one round is just fine if that's happening with the group focusing fire, and if there are enough creatures that the whole fight doesn't end in one round. If a typical combat is 4 rounds, say, then a combat with 4 enemies means that, on average, one of them is going down per round. With more than 4 enemies, on average more than one is going down per round. Unless the party is splitting up their efforts causing nobody to go down for the first three rounds and then all of the enemies to go down at once in the last round (which is just bad tactics), interesting fights (which means fights where there are at least as many enemies as PCs so that the party doesn't just curbstomp with their action economy advantage) you're typically going to have enemies going down every round.

I've run games for optimised characters and for characters built like people, and...no. In either case, I'd consider such a fight a failure on my part, unless it wasn't really there to challenge the PCs significantly.



The scenario we were discussing was one where the rogue takes their turn before the melee characters have closed into melee --- because otherwise they have sneak attack and don't need to ready. It's not a matter of readying an action every round; it's a first round tactic that allows the rogue (absent places to hide, or having a familiar in range, etc.) to get sneak attack off that round.
And that rogue will get attacked in the first round, unless they fail to hit and the enemies don't know they are a threat. And even then, if the enemies have a lurker, then the lightly armored guy hanging back with a bow is a juicy target.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
If I had to summarize this thread, I would identify two general groups (with exceptions in both cases, of course):

People with charts and graphs who say monks suck.

People with experience playing monks who say they are fine.

I say monks don’t suck and showed charts and graphs.
 


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