D&D 5E Patient Defense / Deflect Missiles Buff

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Ok, so this is based on my own experience, but I have rarely seen a monk use either A) Patient Defense or B) Deflect Missiles. I've also seen discussions on these boards regarding Patient Defense. And honestly, I get it. Defensive abilities are rarely "sexy," especially when they require action economy that would prevent you from making an attack. Patient Defense prevents you from using Marital Arts or Flurry of Blows, and using Deflect Missiles may prevent you from making an Opportunity Attack. These attacks are especially valuable once a Monk has access to Stunning Strike.

Now, this wasn't something I was actively looking to solve. But rather, it kinda just came to me while I was working on something completely different. I wondered what it would be like to link Patient Defense and Deflect Missiles together. So I reworked that ability as below. Once again, I have no idea if this is balanced, or good idea, or even a problem that needs to be solved. It was just a cool thought to make two underutilized (IMO) monk abilities more relevant. Also, it reminds me of Po from Kung Fu Panda tossing cannonballs, which I would love to replicate in D&D.

Deflect Missiles
Starting at 3rd Level, you can use your Reaction to deflect or catch the missile when you are hit by a ranged weapon Attack. When you do so, the damage you take from the Attack is reduced by 1d10 + your Dexterity modifier + your monk level.

If you reduce the damage to 0, you can catch the missile if it is small enough for you to hold in one hand and you have at least one hand free. If you catch a missile in this way, you can spend 1 ki point to make a ranged Attack (range 20 feet/60 feet) with the weapon or piece of Ammunition you just caught, as part of the same Reaction. You make this Attack with proficiency, regardless of your weapon Proficiencies, and the missile counts as a monk weapon for the Attack.

If you use this ability while you have taken the Dodge action or using Patient Defense, then deflecting missiles does not require a reaction, the damage from a ranged weapon attack is reduced by an additional 1d10, and the missile can be redirected as long as it is something you could hold in two hands.
 

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Immoralkickass

Explorer
The simple solution is to make Patient Defense use a reaction instead of bonus action. It would then work like Shield, lasting a whole round with the Dodge effect.

For Deflect Missiles, increase its throw back damage to 2 rolls of Martial Arts die, so that it doesn't feel like a waste of Ki.

Defensive abilities like Patient Defense is not 'unsexy', its just that it competes for the same resources and the same action economy. A Fighter doesnt have to give up AC to do more damage, nor does a Paladin his aura, or a Wizard his offensive spells.
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
Defensive abilities like Patient Defense is not 'unsexy', its just that it competes for the same resources and the same action economy. A Fighter doesnt have to give up AC to do more damage, nor does a Paladin his aura, or a Wizard his offensive spells.
Fighters do have to give up AC for damage. They use shields and possibly a fighting style for AC and two-handed weapons for damage. Paladins trade the effectiveness of their Aura for damage, as the resource they share is their ability score spread and ASI's. Wizards have to choose a list of spells known and they exchange spell slots which do share a resource. Shield and magic missile are the same 1st-level slot.

All classes have trade-offs. Monks are pretty versatile for a martial since they can make their trade-offs moment-to-moment as opposed to a fighter that actually loses a complete turn of damage if he wants to equip/unequip a shield or a Paladin who can't even change their spread beyond improvements at an incremental pace.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Patient defense is very powerful on an armored strength-based Monk. Flurry of blows can be used on a monk in armor, but martial arts can't so it is only worth strength damage and the regular bonus action martial arts attack can't be used at all. This makes the opportunity cost for using it lower and if you are wearing plate it will be pretty darn effective too.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Patient defense is very powerful on an armored strength-based Monk. Flurry of blows can be used on a monk in armor, but martial arts can't so it is only worth strength damage and the regular bonus action martial arts attack can't be used at all. This makes the opportunity cost for using it lower and if you are wearing plate it will be pretty darn effective too.

A monk that wears armor can't use their martial arts ability. That means they can't benefit from their monk's unarmed strike damage, their bonus action attack, or their unarmored damage. That's basically the core of their whole identity. Additionally, even if you could technically use flurry of blows, you would only deal 1 + your strength modifier because you don't gain the benefit of martial arts. I'm failing to see how this would be a viable option.

If I were the DM of a player wanting to take this approach, I'd rule that a monk that couldn't benefit from Martial Arts (once again, the entire core of the monk's identity), also wouldn't be able to use their Ki based abilities.
 

ECMO3

Hero
A monk that wears armor can't use their martial arts ability. That means they can't benefit from their monk's unarmed strike damage, their bonus action attack, or their unarmored damage. That's basically the core of their whole identity. Additionally, even if you could technically use flurry of blows, you would only deal 1 + your strength modifier because you don't gain the benefit of martial arts. I'm failing to see how this would be a viable option.
This is all true, but a Monk has a ton of abilities. The things you don't get in armor are martial arts, movement and AC. You get everything else I believe. Wearing armor also has no effect on most subclass abilities.

Regarding FOB, you are correct but there are two things to note here - First, if you get unarmed fighting style through a multiclass or feat then you can do 1d6 or 1d8 on your unarmed attacks. Also you can use FOB to deliver stunning strike, even if you only do 1 point of damage. Asanother option you can also take a race like Tabaxi or minotaur that does more damage with unarmed strikes without the need of martial arts.

What is really awesome is a level 3 fighter, level X monk in heavy armor. You get action surge, 2nd wind and fighter subclass features. If you take a human or custom lineage with tavern brawler and uarmed fighting you can have a pretty effective character getting a bonus action damaging grapple without using any Ki and then you can go nova with AS and FOB and deliver 6 stunning strikes in one turn.

There is also no requirement to use a monk weapon on stunning strike, so you can go GWM+PAM or really any other traditional fighter build while getting stunning strike and all the other ki abilities.

If I were the DM of a player wanting to take this approach, I'd rule that a monk that couldn't benefit from Martial Arts (once again, the entire core of the monk's identity), also wouldn't be able to use their Ki based abilities.
That seems it is just nerfing the PC for no reason. Personally I celebrate PCs who want to do creative builds and a character's identity is up to the PC as long as its mechanics is within RAW. While an armored monk can be powerful and cool it is hardly the most powerful build available.
 
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Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
That seems it is just nerfing the PC for no reason. Personally I celebrate PCs who want to do creative builds and a character's identity is up to the PC as long as its mechanics is within RAW. While an armored monk can be powerful and cool it is hardly the most powerful build available.

I think my reasoning is fairly legitimate. I have no problem with creative builds or discarding RAW in favor of rule of cool. And perhaps the RP concept a player would bring along with the mechanics could make it more palatable. But to me it's like trying to play a wizard that can't cast spells or a rogue that can't sneak attack. Thematically I just don't get it, even if it could work by RAW.
 

ECMO3

Hero
I think my reasoning is fairly legitimate. I have no problem with creative builds or discarding RAW in favor of rule of cool. And perhaps the RP concept a player would bring along with the mechanics could make it more palatable. But to me it's like trying to play a wizard that can't cast spells or a rogue that can't sneak attack. Thematically I just don't get it, even if it could work by RAW.
Well I guess I like going against archtype in these regards. If martial arts was the only thing they could do, or if other abilities like patient defense and stunning strike were available elsewhere I would probably agree.

One of my Rogue dips right now is a grappler build (Rogue 1 Fighter 3 currently) that has a 14 dexterity and "can" sneak attack but never does. She either uses a Maul or an unarmed strike and bonus action grapple. She got Rogue for the expertise in Athletics.

Most of the wizards I play are bladesinger front line melee builds. While they can all cast spells, I am playing a 3rd level wizard on OOTA right now that has no spell book (not by choice) and currently only has 4 spells (those that were prepared at 1st level and are still in her head). It has been a really fun game so far but she is definitely looking for a spellbook. Another PC in the party with woodcarving was able to fashion a wand out of a crossbow bolt for her, so at least she has the focus needed for 1 of her spells and 2 of her cantrips. Before that she was really limited.

I also played a Fey Wanderer Ranger that was more caster than martial. She loaded up with Shadow Touched, Telepathic and Magic initiate feats to get a bunch of extra spells and most turns she was putting down some sort of charm, fear, a summoned Fey or using a wand of fear. That is until the final battle. She went nova with the spells on a battle before the final battle when she thought (incorrectly) that we were going to have a long rest. As a result she had to actually "fight like a martial" in the final battle (perish the thought!)

I love playing and DMing creative builds like that, I am pretty strict RAW though. If you don't stick to RAW I think you risk running into balance problems.
 
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