log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Stance Based Alternate Monk

Stalker0

Legend
So in recent threads, the notion of a Monk that used "stances" to gain access to their abilities, instead of constantly spending KI, had some interest. So I put together a monk that uses that mechanic in combination with some of the other cleanup I've wanted to do at high levels with the class.

The main goals of this alternate class are:
  • The Monk now unlocks his core abilities with "Stances". A monk can use a limited set of his abilities at-will, as long as stays within the stance.
  • Ki is primarily used in the switching of stances, and to power secondary abilities. As such, KI has been reduced for the class.
  • Core abilities were adjusted to give the monk were flexibility in build. This monk is no longer strictly reliant on high wisdom and dex to function. Further, this monk is no longer so heavily restricted against armor, a monk that finds a way to gain armor can use them and still get their monk benefits. Finally, the monk's martial arts has been adjusted so that the monk can still do good damage with weapons other than a quarterstaff.
  • The monk's high level abilities were upgraded to better scale to the expectations of high level characters.


Stalker0's Stance Based Alternate Monk

*Abilities that were added or adjusted are bolded
Level
Prof Bonus​
Martial Arts​
Ki
Fast Movement​
Features
1st​
+2​
1d4​
—​
—​
Unarmored Defense, Martial Arts
2nd​
+2​
1d4​
2
+10 ft.​
Ki, Stances, Fast Movement
3rd​
+2​
1d4​
2
+10 ft.​
Monastic Tradition, Deflect Missiles
4th​
+2​
1d4​
2
+10 ft.​
Ability Score Improvement, Slow Fall
5th​
+3​
1d6​
3
+10 ft.​
Extra Attack, Stunning Strike
6th​
+3​
1d6​
3
+15 ft.​
Ki-Empowered Strikes, Monastic Tradition feature
7th​
+3​
1d6​
3
+15 ft.​
Evasion, Stillness of Mind
8th​
+3​
1d6​
4
+15 ft.​
Ability Score Improvement
9th​
+4​
1d6​
4
+15 ft.​
Walk in the Heavens
10th​
+4​
1d6​
4
+20 ft.​
Purity of Body
11th​
+4​
1d8​
5
+20 ft.​
Monastic Tradition feature, Fist of the Inferno
12th​
+4​
1d8​
5
+20 ft.​
Ability Score Improvement
13th​
+5​
1d8​
5
+20 ft.​
Tongue of the Sun and Moon, Dance of the Formless
14th​
+5​
1d8​
6
+25 ft.​
Diamond Soul
15th​
+5​
1d8​
6
+25 ft.​
Timeless Body
16th​
+5​
1d8​
6
+25 ft.​
Ability Score Improvement
17th​
+6​
1d10​
7
+25 ft.​
Monastic Tradition feature
18th​
+6​
1d10​
7
+30 ft.​
Empty Body
19th​
+6​
1d10​
7
+30 ft.​
Ability Score Improvement, Stance of Self
20th​
+6​
1d10​
8
+30 ft.​
Perfect Self


Unarmored Defense: AC = 11 + Dex (or Wis) + Prof Bonus


Designer’s Note: I removed the secondary ability dependence to give Monk's more freedom in their stat choices. They now start with the same AC as light armor wielders, with some light scaling

Martial Arts (changes noted below)

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 roll a d4 d8 in place of the normal damage of your Unarmed Strike or monk weapon. (New) At 17th level, this damage increases to a d10. An attack from a bonus action instead uses the Martial Arts table to determine the damage.


Designer’s Note: Right now, a Monk with a quarterstaff does a d8 at first level, so any monk with a hint of optimization is going to use a quarterstaff, which is much too limiting. Now, a monk can do what he was supposed to do… real unarmed damage. If he wants to use a short sword for flavor, or because its got some cool magic bonus, go for it…because it will do actual good damage. Note that this Monk does the same damage as the current Monk if a quarterstaff is used; it’s just adding flexibility, not power. Further, we have removed the silly restriction on armor. If a monk wants to pay for the proficiencies of getting armor, than let them enjoy their armor! A wizard can do it, why not a monk?

KI

Just noting the KI table has been adjusted to account for the new model.

Stances (New)
The monk is a master of martial form, and can adopt various stances, to gain certain abilities. The monk knows 3 stances which are shown below. After a rest, the Monk may assume a stance, and stays in that stance until another rest or the stance is changed. The Monk may spend 1 KI to change his stance, but cannot change it again until the start of his next turn.
  • Fire: When using the bonus action attack from Martial Arts, you gain 2 attacks instead of 1.
  • Water: As long as you are conscious, you have advantage on reflex saving throws, and attacks against you are made with disadvantage.
  • Wind: Your jumping distance is doubled. You may spend a bonus action to take the Disengage or Dash action, or may perform both by spending 1 KI.
Designer’s Note: This is the hallmark of this alternate class. The stance abilities are very similar to the core Monk. However, with the new stance system, a Monk can continuously use the same ability over and over without KI expenditure. Further, the Water Stance is a bit stronger than Patient Defense, as it works without an action expenditure.

Fast Movement (changes noted below)
Starting at 2nd Level, your speed increases by 10 feet while you are not wearing armor or wielding a Shield. (New) If you are slowed down by encumbrance or heavy armor, reduce the bonus by 5ft

Designer’s Note: Again our goal here is to remove the needless restriction against armor in the class. There is nothing game breaking about a monk in full plate moving really quickly; after all he has had to pay a lot for the privilege of wearing it. We are making some consideration that if the monk is slowed down this should affect his fast movement, but not eliminate it

Deflect Missiles (changes noted below)
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. (New) If you spend 1 KI, you do not have to spend a reaction to use this ability.

Designer’s Note: This is a cool feature of the monk, and no need to spend their special resources on this. Monks are just good against archers, that’s a nice niche for them

Stunning Strike (Changes noted below)
When you hit another creature with a melee weapon Attack, you can spend 1 ki point to attempt a Stunning Strike. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or be Stunned until the end of your next turn. (New) You cannot use this ability again until the start of your next turn.

Designer’s Note: We had to adjust for the lesser KI pool, and the goal is to reduce the monk’s reliance on this ability in favor of other talents. On the one hand, he can attempt a stunning strike each round, which is quite good, but he can no longer spam multiple stun attempts a round…which was ultimately the real power of the ability.

Walk in the Heavens (New)
While in Wind Stance, you may treat liquids as a solid surface. If you spend 1 KI, you gain a fly speed equal to your speed until the start of your next turn.

Designer’s Note: So we are at the level where we can start pushing the Monk into cooler more high level abilities. This lets us mimic the incredible jumping prowess of many monks of legend, and really adds to the monk’s mobility

Fist of the Inferno (New)
While in Fire Stance, add +2 damage to all attacks made using Martial Arts

Designer’s Note
: Complaints about Monk DPS are usually geared at 11+ level when the extra attacks from TWF stop scaling. This is a quick and easy way to touch up the Monk’s damage…but only if he committed to it using Fire Stance.

Tongue of the Sun and Moon (New)
You can communicate with any creature that knows a language. If you spend 1 KI, for 1 minute when the creature talks to you, it is under the effects of a Zone of Truth (no save).

Designer’s Note: Again, in terms of a 13th level ability, this isn’t that strong (casters have been able to do this since 3rd). But the fact that it simply works, no save, makes it special and interesting.

Dance of the Formless (New)
While in Water Stance, you have the benefit of a Freedom of Movement spell.

Designer’s Note: Now we are getting into some high level abilities. While spellcasters have had this ability since 7th level, we are giving the Monk a super version of it that is always on, as long as they are in the stance.

Timeless Body (changes noted below)
You no longer need food, water or air. Your body does not die of old age. (New) If you die, and receive healing within 1 minute of your death, you can return to life as if given the Revivify spell.

Designer’s Note: This ability before was complete fluff, which is not what we need at 15th level. First, removing Air is a cool ability (though still mostly fluff at this level). However, now the Monk can recover easily from even death, which is a cool and crunchy power.

Empty Body (changes noted below)
Beginning at 18th level, you can use your action to spend 4 ki 2ki 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 4ki points to cast the Astral Projection spell, without needing material Components. When you do so, you can't take any other creatures with you.

Designer’s Note: we are simply adjusting the ability for the smaller KI pool, no actual change here.


Stance of Self (New)
At 19th level, the Monk has perfected his art to the point where it is now an innate part of him. You are no longer limited on how often you can switch stances, and switching stances no longer requires KI.


Perfect Self
At 20th level, the Monk can move faster than any other being. You have a second bonus action and a second reaction.

Designer’s Note: I always believe in making Capstones pop, and the old Monk capstone was quite lame. With this one, the Monk has gained something special in the form of extra bonus actions and reactions. This gives you an incredible amount of power and flexibility, but it is 20th level after all.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


That you chose to call them fire, water, and wind stances and not use the traditional animal based stances (crane, tiger, dragon, etc.) of martial arts is a bit of a pet peeve of mine 😅, but overall I like the idea of this a lot.

I do post the same comment here as I did in the other thread, I don't think going proficiency to their AC is a good idea because it will encourage dipping into monk from dex based characters just to get a free AC boost and the ability to do better damage with unarmed attacks especially with the proposed changes here to unarmed damage. For a rogue in particular, you mean I can deal d8's with my unarmed strings, gain scaling AC AND do sneak attack? All for one level of monk? Sign me up! And even if one rules sneak attack can't be done with unarmed strikes, I'd be hard pressed not to take one monk level as a dex fighter or ranger. Why bother taking dual wielder as a feat now after all?

Personally I'd make the starting damage of unarmed strike d6's, then upgrade to d8 at 5th level, and d10s at the next level you suggest. It puts their damage on par with a great sword through making two unarmed attacks, and while one can argue that this makes the quarterstaff slightly better, but honestly that's a problem with the quarterstaff, not the monk. Frankly they should've had a clause stating a monk can't get the "offhand" attack as a bonus action while wielding a weapon with two hands in the first place. I get that sort of limits stuff monks fighting with their feet or other body parts, but it would've prevented quarterstaff dominance. The other option would've just not made the quarterstaff be versatile. Sure casters wielding staves would've gotten a bit of the shaft there, but let's be honest, druids have shilleighleh, and the other casters have cantrips they tend to use instead of weapons. It wouldn't have been noticed if the quarterstaff wasn't versatile.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I don't think going proficiency to their AC is a good idea because it will encourage dipping into monk from dex based characters just to get a free AC boost and the ability to do better damage with unarmed attacks especially with the proposed changes here to unarmed damage. For a rogue in particular, you mean I can deal d8's with my unarmed strings, gain scaling AC AND do sneak attack? All for one level of monk? Sign me up!

A fair concern so I took a look at the combo of Rogue / Monk 1. Here are a few things to consider:

1) A rogue can already use a rapier for d8 damage, so no real damage boost there. However, if the rogue was planning for TWF style, he would get a (if we assume +3 dex) a +2 damage boost on his off hand attack compared to a shortsword.
2) A rogue does need a 13 wisdom to multiclass into monk (which is not a major restriction but just something to note)
3) At 1-4 we are only talking a +1 AC, which I think is a reasonable tradeoff. However, your point about it scaling in the future is a good point. Maybe I should put a restriction on its scaling only for monk levels to prevent that issue. Or, perhaps just make it a static 13 + stat (which is common for other forms of armorless defenses). So its still a little better, but no longer has the scaling.
4) So if I address the scaling armor issue, the multiclass would grant the rogue a +1 AC and +2 damage on his offhand attack. That's a solid benefit, but at the cost of slowing down sneak attack progression, delaying access to uncanny dodge or evasion....it seems a solid build, but not "omg I must have it". It seems to me a reasonable trade off, you gain a few things but delay access to others... just as multiclassing should be.

Thinking about it more, probably the strongest multiclass dip would be taking Monk 2 to pick up Water Stance, and just leave it on all the time. Now you would have permanent dodge all the time... that's pretty darn good and might need something to account for that.

That you chose to call them fire, water, and wind stances and not use the traditional animal based stances (crane, tiger, dragon, etc.) of martial arts is a bit of a pet peeve of mine 😅

By all means, call it whatever you wish:) Part of the reason I used the elemental types is that I was thinking of updated the 4 elements monk to this model, and so I could naturally connect the stances to elemental effects.
 
Last edited:



Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top