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D&D 5E Signature Technique! 5E Monk Rework

Icarii

Villager

Hello All!

After listening to Treantmonk's video on the Monk being underpowered, and reading forum post here and elsewhere online, I wanted to rework the monk to make the overly baseline it gives more powerful, a bit better to multiclass with, and some additional fluff. That said, this rework does include some rebalancing that are not all gains. While flurry of blows have been made more accessible and powerful overall, stunning strike has been nerf in its usage. However, it is now one of three options for a monks Signature Technique! You can see the entirety of my rework below (despite it probably needing some rewordings here and there), however the quick list of bigger changes:

  • d10 instead of d8 hit dice
  • Many abilities have been revised not to use ki up front, but can us ki to enhance them and make it more powerful
  • Flurry of blows has been buffed to use for the entire combat, but limits on per round usage. To offset this a little, Martial arts die progression has pushed back a level

  • Stunning Strike is now one of three signature moves a monk picks at level 5. Each signature move has uses per day, and is free to use upfront, but can be enhanced with ki

  • Martial improvements are baked in at level 11 to provide monk more late game impact.

  • Way of the Open Hand updated!

I was debating on adding an "Improved signature technique: ability somehwere around 16th-18th level to allow PCs to dump more ki into it, but since i feel the rework includes mostly buffs, I wanted opinions on it as is first. Looking forward to feedback!

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Revised Monk​

As a monk, you gain the following Class Features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d10 per monk level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per monk level after 1st

Starting Proficiencies

You are proficient with the following items, in addition to any Proficiencies provided by your race or Background.

Armor: none
Weapons: simple Weapons, shortswords
Tools: any one type of artisan's tools or any one musical Instrument of your choice
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Athletics, History, Insight, Religion, and Stealth

Starting Equipment

You start with the following Equipment, in addition to the Equipment granted by your background:

• (a) a Shortsword or (b) any simple weapon
• (a) a Dungeoneer's Pack or (b) an Explorer's Pack
• 10 darts

LevelProficiency BonusMartial ArtsKi PointsUnarmored MovementFeatures
1st+21d4Unarmored Defense, Martial Arts
2nd+21d42+10 ft.Ki, Unarmored Movement
3rd+21d43+10 ft.Monastic Tradition, Deflect Missiles
4th+21d44+10 ft.Ability Score Improvement, Slow Fall
5th+31d45+10 ft.ExtraAttack, Stunning Strike
6th+31d66+15 ft.Ki-Empowered Strikes, Monastic Tradition feature
7th+31d67+15 ft.Evasion, Stillness of Mind
8th+31d68+15 ft.Ability Score Improvement
9th+41d69+15 ft.Unarmored Movement improvement
10th+41d610+20 ft.Purity of Body
11th+41d611+20 ft.Monastic Tradition feature
Flurry of Blows Improve
Signature Technique Improve
12th+41d812+20 ft.Ability Score Improvement
13th+51d813+20 ft.Tongue of the Sun and Moon
14th+51d814+25 ft.Diamond Soul
15th+51d815+25 ft.Timeless Body
16th+51d816+25 ft.Ability Score Improvement
17th+61d817+25 ft.Monastic Tradition feature
18th+61d1018+30 ft.Empty Body
19th+61d1019+30 ft.Ability Score Improvement
20th+61d1020+30 ft.Perfect Self


Unarmored Defense

Beginning at 1st Level, while you are wearing no armor and not wielding a Shield, your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier.

Martial Arts

At 1st Level, your practice of Martial Arts gives you mastery of Combat styles that use unarmed strikes and monk Weapons, which are shortswords and any simple melee Weapons that don't have the Two-Handed or heavy property.

You gain the following benefits while you are unarmed or wielding only monk Weapons and you aren't wearing armor or wielding a Shield.

• You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the Attack and Damage Rolls of your unarmed strikes and monk Weapons.

• You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your Unarmed Strike or monk weapon. This die changes as you gain monk levels, as shown in the Martial Arts column of the Monk table.

• When you use the Attack action with an Unarmed Strike or a monk weapon on Your Turn, you can make one Unarmed Strike as a Bonus Action. For example, if you take the Attack action and Attack with a Quarterstaff, you can also make an Unarmed Strike as a Bonus Action, assuming you haven't already taken a Bonus Action this turn.

Certain monasteries use specialized forms of the monk Weapons. For example, you might use a club that is two lengths of wood connected by a short chain (called a nunchaku) or a Sickle with a shorter, straighter blade (called a kama). Whatever name you use for a monk weapon, you can use the game Statistics provided for the weapon.

Ki​

Starting at 2nd Level, your Training allows you to harness The Mystic energy of ki. Your access to this energy is represented by a number of ki points. Your monk level determines the number of points you have, as shown in the Ki Points column of the Monk table.

You can spend these points to use or enhance monk features. You start knowing three such features: Flurry of Blows, Patient Defense, and Step of the Wind. You learn more ki features as you gain levels in this class.

When you spend a ki point, it is unavailable until you finish a short or Long Rest, at the end of which you draw all of your expended ki back into yourself. You must spend at least 30 minutes of the rest meditating to regain your ki points.

Some of your ki features require your target to make a saving throw to resist the feature's Effects. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:

Ki save DC = 8 + your Proficiency Bonus + your Wisdom modifier

Flurry of Blows​

Once per round, immediately after you take the Attack action on Your Turn, you can make two unarmed strikes as a Bonus Action.

At 11th level, you can use this feature twice per round instead.

Ki Enhance: You can spend 1 ki points when taking the Flurry of Blows Attack action. If you do, add your proficiency bonus to hit and damage rolls.

Patient Defense

You can spend 1 ki point to take the Dodge action as a Bonus Action on Your Turn.

Step of the Wind​

You can take the Disengage or Dash action as a Bonus Action on Your Turn, and your jump distance is doubled for the turn.

Ki Enhance: You can spend 1 ki point when taking the Disengage or Dash actions. If you do, add your proficiency bonus as a deflection bonus to AC until your next turn.

Unarmored Movement

Starting at 2nd Level, your speed increases by 10 feet while you are not wearing armor or wielding a Shield. This bonus increases when you reach certain monk levels, as shown in the Monk table.

At 9th level, you gain the ability to move along vertical surfaces and across liquids on Your Turn without Falling during the move.

Ki Enhance: You can spend 1 ki point when taking a move action. If you do, double your Unarmored Movement bonus until your next turn.

Monastic Tradition
When you reach 3rd Level, you commit yourself to a monastic tradition, such as the Way of the Open Hand. Your tradition grants you features at 3rd Level and again at 6th, 11th, and 17th level.

Deflect Missiles

Starting at 3rd Level, you can use your Reaction to deflect or catch missiles for the rest of the current turn when you are hit by a ranged weapon Attack. When you do so, the damage you take from each 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 per missile to make a ranged Attack (range 20 feet/60 feet) with the weapons or pieces 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.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th Level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two Ability Scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Slow Fall​

Beginning at 4th Level, you can use your Reaction when you fall to reduce any Falling damage you take by an amount equal to five times your monk level.

Ki Enhance: You can spend 1 ki point when taking the Slow Fall reaction. If you do, you may move 5ft per 10ft of movement speed you have as part of the fall that round. If you touch ground/water by the end of this movement, you take no fall damage.

Extra Attack

Beginning at 5th Level, you can Attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on Your Turn.

Signature Technique​

Starting at 5th Level, you gain one of three signature techniques as a feature. You can use this Feature a number of times per day equal to your proficiency bonus. At 11th level, you can use it a number of times per day equal to twice your proficiency bonus instead.

• Stunning Strike: You can interfere with the flow of ki in an opponent's body. When you hit another creature with a melee weapon Attack, you can use a Stunning Strike. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or be Stunned until the end of your next turn.

Ki Enhance: You can spend 2 ki points when attempting a Stunning Strike. If you do, the target has disadvantage on their saving throw.

• Brutal Strike: You can devastate the body of your opponent. When you hit another creature with a melee weapon Attack, you can use a Brutal Strike. For a number of rounds equal to your proficiency bonus, the creature bleeds, taking your damage equal to your proficiency bonus of the same type as the attack. This bleeding only works on creatures capable of bleeding. Landing additional Brutal Strikes does not increase the damage, but does reset the duration.

Ki Enhance: You can spend 2 ki points with a Brutal Strike. If you do, add two times your martial arts die plus your proficiency bonus to the initial attack.

• Redirecting Strike: You can manipulate your opponent's attack against them. When another creature attacks you with a melee weapon Attack but before the hit is confirmed, you can use a Redirecting Strike as a reaction. The attacker must succeed a dex saving throw or attack another target in its range (including itself) as you redirect their attack, adding your martial arts die to the damage roll. The attacker then makes its attack roll against the new target.

Ki Enhance: You can spend 2 ki points with a Redirecting Strike. If you do, your opponent has disadvantage on the saving throw and if they fail their save while attacking with a non natural weapon, you disarm them, launching the weapon at the new target as the attack.

Ki-Empowered Strikes

Starting at 6th level, your unarmed strikes count as magical for the Purpose of overcoming Resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.


Stillness of Mind

Starting at 7th level, you can use your action to end one Effect on yourself that is causing you to be Charmed or Frightened.

Ki Enhance: You can spend 1 ki point to take the Stillness of Mind action as a reaction instead.

Evasion

At 7th level, your instinctive agility lets you dodge out of the way of certain area Effects, such as a blue dragon's lightning breath or a Fireball spell. When you are subjected to an Effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Purity of Body

At 10th level, your mastery of the ki flowing through you makes you immune to disease and poison.

Tongue of the Sun and Moon

Starting at 13th level, you learn to touch the ki of other minds so that you understand all spoken Languages. Moreover, any creature that can understand a language can understand what you say.

Ki Enhance: As an action, you can spend 1 ki point to reach out to the mind of a familiar creature, as long as you've seen them at least once. You can sense their distance and direction with a range of one mile per monk level. If you are successful at sensing them, you may communicate with them telepathically for one minute.

Diamond Soul​

Beginning at 14th level, your mastery of ki grants you proficiency in all Saving Throws.

Ki Enhance: Whenever you make a saving throw and fail, you can spend 1 ki point to reroll it and take the second result.

Timeless Body​

At 15th level, your ki sustains you so that you suffer none of the Frailty of old age, and you can't be aged magically. You can still die of old age, however. In addition, you no longer need food or water.

Empty Body

Beginning at 18th level, you can use your action to spend 4 ki points to become Invisible for 1 minute. During that time, you also have Resistance to all damage but force damage.

Additionally, you can spend 8 ki points to cast the Astral Projection spell, without needing material Components. When you do so, you can't take any other creatures with you.

Perfect Soul​

At 20th level, when you roll for Initiative and have less than 5 ki points remaining, you ki points become 5.

Monastic Traditions

Three traditions of monastic pursuit are Common in the monasteries scattered across the multiverse.

Most monasteries practice one tradition exclusively, but a few honor the three traditions and instruct each monk according to his or her aptitude and interest. All three traditions rely on the same basic Techniques, diverging as the Student grows more adept. Thus, a monk need choose a tradition only upon reaching 3rd Level.

Way of the Open Hand

Monks of the Way of the Open Hand are the ultimate masters of Martial Arts Combat, whether armed or unarmed. They learn Techniques to push and trip their opponents, manipulate ki to heal damage to their bodies, and practice advanced meditation that can protect them from harm.

Open Hand Technique

Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd Level, you can manipulate your enemy’s ki when you harness your own. Whenever you hit a creature with an attack that costs ki or is ki enhanced, you can impose one of the following Effects on that target:
  • It must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone.
  • It must make a Strength saving throw. If it fails, you can push it up to 15 feet away from you.
  • It can’t take Reactions until the end of your next turn.

Wholeness of Body

At 6th level, you gain the ability to heal yourself. As an action, you can regain Hit Points equal to three times your monk level. You must finish a Long Rest before you can use this feature again.

Ki Enhance: You can spend 1 ki point when taking the Wholeness of Body Action. If you do, you may use this feature again after a short rest instead of a long rest.

Tranquility

Beginning at 11th level, you can enter a Special meditation that surrounds you with an aura of peace. At the end of a Long Rest, you gain the Effect of a Sanctuary spell that lasts until the start of your next Long Rest (the spell can end early as normal). The saving throw DC for the spell equals 8 + your Wisdom modifier + your Proficiency Bonus.

Ki Enhance: You can spend 1 ki point at the end of a short rest to regain the effect of Tranquility.

Quivering Palm

At 17th level, you gain the ability to set up lethal vibrations in someone’s body. When you hit a creature with an Unarmed Strike, you can spend 3 ki points to start these imperceptible vibrations, which last for a number of days equal to your monk level. The vibrations are harmless unless you use your action to end them. To do so, you and the target must be on the same plane of existence. When you use this action, the creature must make a Constitution saving throw. If it fails, it is reduced to 0 Hit Points. If it succeeds, it takes 10d10 necrotic damage.

You can have only one creature under the Effect of this feature at a time. You can choose to end the vibrations harmlessly without using an action.
 
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"Ki Enhance: You can spend 1 ki points when taking the Flurry of Blows Attack action. If you do, add your proficiency bonus to hit and damage rolls."

Does that mean you add PB to the attack roll twice?
 



Signature choice will be stunning strike most of the time.
Add if any other choice, Signature will burn most of the ki available leaving only few use of other ki abilities.
 

Stalker0

Legend
One thing I would do to help your reviewers is just to list out the key changes, it took me a couple of reads to gather them all.

Ok for context, I too have made a number of alternate monks. In general my view of the monk has shifted from "horribly UP" to "just needs a few key tweaks", so my feedback overall will be that its too many changes. That said, there is some stuff in here I like, so lets take a look.

HP 1d10: Fine
Martial Arts: Delayed 1 level. Ultimately I think this is a bad change, it doesn't really compensate for some of your other changes, it just delays gratification a bit. I think we can do something else here.

Flurry: Automatic (no ki spend), doubles at 11th. Enhance (1 ki): Add prof to hit and damage.

So I think this is too much raw boost, but it does open up an interesting idea. What if the regular "bonus unarmed attack" from martial arts got an innate bonus to attack and damage equal to the prof mod (and the flurry worked as original). You still get a big boost but only on 1-2 attacks, so it gives us a midway boost in damage without going too far. It also helps to scale automatically.

The compromise is complexity, as you now have two different attack rolls.

Slow Fall: Slow fall honestly is a pretty perfect ability as is, and its already very strong for its niche. I think its an area where I wouldn't spend any "complexity chips"

Signature Technique: Ok turning stun into a "Prof per day" ability has merit, I'm on board.

Brutal Strike: Flavorwise I'm on board, but we need to bump this up... bleed damage is just very very weak in 5e due to how short most combats are, so its needs to pop to have any impact. First, I would suggest instead of prof damage go with a martial arts die, that scales a bit more. We also need to clean up the bleed language a bit, and frankly considering the mystical nature of the monk I think we can create a version that doesn't require actual blood (ala quivering palm), and that gives crits some fun (and some party teamwork) to add in some more oomph. Here is a rewrite to try out:

"You leave a trace of your ki in the body of your opponent, weakening and devastating them over time. When you hit another creature with a melee weapon Attack, you can activate a Brutal Strike. Whenever the creature takes a critical hit, it takes additional damage equal to your martial arts die. At the end of the creature's turn, it takes damage equal to your martials arts die and can make a constitution saving throw to end the effect.

Ki Enhance: Spend 2 Ki. The martial arts damage from brutal strike is doubled, and the creature has disadvantage on the save against it."

Redirecting Strike: Again to compete with Stunning Strike this thing needs to pop, and one of its issues is its only really useful if other monsters are nearby, which narrows its niche significantly. So I think we need to look at some core defensive power (to counter the offense of the other two), we will remove the reaction (none of the other two required any action), and to give it more personal power so its more generally useful. something like:

When you are hit by an attack roll (note any attack roll), you may use this ability to lower the attack roll by your proficiency mod. If the attack misses, you may reroll the attack against a creature within 5 feet of you that you choose, adding your martials arts die to the damage.

Ki Enhance: Spend 2 ki. You can lower the attack roll by twice your proficiency mod, and if the redirected attack hits it is considered a critical hit.

Stillness of Mind: The ki enhance is cool, I like it.

Tongue of the Sun and Moon: This is cool! Just needs a slight language cleanup, I assume that both the direction sensing and the telepathy last for 1 minute, so you want to make that clear, but I'm on board.

Empty Body: Pretty darn strong but this 18th level its time to go for it. Something to clarify, do you have resistance for the full 1 minute no matter what, or only while invisible? (in case something can remove the invisibility). If its the latter, you could clarify it as "While invisible in this way".
 

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