The Karate Kid: A Guide to Monk/Druid Multiclassing

Yunru

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The Karate Kid: A Guide to Monk/Druid Multiclassing
Karate-Kid_VECT.jpg

Art by Michael Megedus

What is a moon druid? A moon druid is a druid who specialises in turning into beasts. These shapeshifters are powerful at early levels, but slowly lose value as the class progresses (unless you go all the way to level 20).

What is a monk? A monk specialises in martial arts, and prioritising not wearing armor in exchange for being nimble and evasive. They perform best when either using monk weapons, or no weapons.

Combining the two is a match made in heaven. Over the course of this guide, we will be looking at how the two interact and analysing their features, forms and abilities in relation to each other.
 
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Yunru

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Post 1: The fiddly stuff​


What features can you use in Wild Shape?
[sblock]The key part here is this bit: "You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so. However, you can't use any of your special senses, such as darkvision, unless your new form also has that sense."

So then, as long as your new form is physically capable of doing it, your abilities are doable. We get an expansion on what we are capable of in this part: "You can't cast spells, and your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form. Transforming doesn't break your concentration on a spell you've already cast, however, or prevent you from taking actions that are part of a spell that you've already cast."

So we can't cast spells. We also can't speak or do stuff with hands, unless our form has a way to do so. Vague, but we can work with it. Any ongoing effects still apply to our new form, which is useful for spells that last longer than one turn, such as Barkskin or Moonbeam.[/sblock]

What works with Martial Arts?
[sblock]Jumping ahead slightly, Martial Arts has the following restriction: "you are unarmed or wielding only monk weapons and you aren't wearing armor or wielding a shield." We qualify for this easily, nothing to worry about.

However, one other part has more restrictions: "When you use the Attack action with an unarmed strike or a monk weapon, you can make one unarmed strike as a bonus action."
Which brings us on to the next topic:[/sblock]

What are natural weapons?
[sblock]Natural weapons are a feature that you use to modify your Unarmed Strike. What this means for us, is that every creature's attack with a natural weapon is an Unarmed Strike. This is good for us, as it means they work with martial arts.

If you need to convince your DM, here's a selection of spells and races which reinforces how natural weapons work for a PC:
  • Aarakocra
  • Alter Form
  • Tabaxi
  • Lizardfolk
  • Naga
  • Simic Hybrid
  • Tortle
  • Viashino
[/sblock]
 
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Yunru

Banned
Banned
Post 2: Class Features

We'll be evaluating features under the assumption that you start as a Monk, then immediately take two levels in Druid. So don't be surprised if Martial Arts or Unarmored Defense is mentioned in the Druid features evaluation.

Ratings are only used when there's something to compare, and go as such:

Sky Blue:
This feature is one of the best of it's grouping, noticeably standing out.

Blue:
This is an optimal choice, being better than the baseline.

Purple: This is an okay choice. It's not great, but you're not actively hurting yourself by picking it.

Red: Consider very carefully whether you want to choose this. In the majority of cases, this is going to be a subpar choice.

Brown: This is an outright trap. There is no reason to pick this and I wouldn't mention it if it weren't a valid option.

The Druid

Druidic: Druidic is pretty much a ribbon feature. It's useful when interacting secretly with other druids, but... only if you want the secrecy.

Spellcasting: You're a full caster as a Druid, but you're mostly going to be using this to boost your beast's combat capabilities. We'll mostly want the remainder of our prepared spells to be utility in nature.

Wild Shape: This is why we're here. As a Moon Druid, the max CR restrictions is a little different for us, but the speed restrictions still apply. As such, we can't take a form with a swim speed until our 4th level of Druid, and can't access flying forms until we reach Druid 8. We can stay in beast form for a number of hours equal to half our Druid level, so you can heal up your beast form during a short rest too. If you are uninjured, I recommend wildshaping before taking a short rest.

Primal Strike: Our beast form attacks overcome resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage. This doesn't come up very often, but is helpful when it does.

Elemental Wild Shape: For us, these aren't very good. The only elemental that might be of interest is the Fire Elemental, but that's not worth both our Wildshape charges.

Thousand Forms: Alter Self at-will is alright.

Timeless Body: We only age at 1/10th of the normal speed. Unimpressive for 18th level.

Beast Spells: This, however, is a game changer. We can now cast spells while in beast form.

The Monk:

Unarmored Defense: This is amazing for us. As long as we keep our Wisdom high, this is a major improvement in AC, both in human and most beast forms.

Martial Arts: A whole bunch of benefits here, but we're not going to use much of them:
  • Firstly we can use Dexterity in place of Strength for unarmed strikes, which isn't going to apply much, but might be useful for a rare few beast forms.
  • Secondly, we can switch our unarmed strike damage for a d4. This is basically never going to be used.
  • Finally, when we use the Attack action with an unarmed strike (so... every beast attack) we can make an unarmed strike as a bonus action. What this means for us is that we want to choose beast forms with single, high damage attacks, as this doesn't work with the Multiattack action, and competes with the Pounce and Trampling Charge features. (but not Charge!)

Ki: Ki is used for a lot of things beyond just what's available in this feature, so I will only be rating the features it provides you to spend it on here:
  • Flurry of Blows: This gives you an extra attack with your bonus action over just using Martial Arts. Obviously the better an attack you can make, the better this is.
  • Patient Defense: Dodge as a bonus action is decent if you're finding yourself getting hit more often than you're comfortable with.
  • Step of the Wind: Disengage or Dash as a bonus action, and double your jump distance. This is amazing for positioning, allowing you to quickly get to where the opponent is weakest (or to retreat if you need to). That said, once you're in position, you're probably not going to need it.

Unarmored Movement: A speed increase has some unusual consequences for us. If we take a form that only has a swim speed, our walking speed still increases. Although at low Monk levels slowly flopping towards an enemy isn't the most fun (once the humour of the imagery wears off).

Monastic Tradition: We'll be going over these separately below.

Deflect Missiles: This is going to be one of those features that depends on having something with which to grab and throw a projectile.

Slow Fall: This can be very useful for us, both if we fall unexpectedly, or get reduced to 0 HP while flying in beast form.

Extra Attack: This increases our damage output by a full 50%, what's not to like?

Stunning Strike: While a Constitution save is one of the most likely to succeed on beefy targets, we only need them to fail once to stun them until the end of our next turn. For those who don't know, Stunned is an amazing condition to inflict on someone.

Ki-Empowered Strikes: Like with beast forms at Druid 6, our unarmed strikes count as magical. This actually makes that feature redundant, not that we can opt out of taking it (or that there'd be a benefit if we did).

Evasion: This helps a lot with staying in beast form, as our beast HP won't be the best.

Stillness of Mind: Being unable to act sucks. This allows you to only be unable to act once per source, rather than round after round.

Purity of Body: Diseases seem to rarely come up, but poison as a condition can be devastating. Flat out immunity is great.

Tongue of the Sun and Moon: We're probably not going this deep into Monk, but if do, it's not for this.

Diamond Soul: Proficiency in all saves, and the option to spend Ki to reroll is fantastic.

Timeless Body: You don't age magically, don't suffer the effects of age (except death), and don't need food or water. Not a lot in this one.

Empty Body: Invisibility is great for both defense and offense, and this doesn't break when you attack. Plus you get resistance to all but force damage? If it weren't for being stuck with CR 1 beast forms, I'd say this was a no-brainer.

Monk Subclasses:

Way of the Drunken Master:
This subclass has some decent features. Nothing stands out as exceptional, but nothings bad either.
[sblock]Bonus Proficiencies: Performance and brewer's supplies. Nice to have.

Drunken Technique: Whenever you Flurry of Blows you also get to Disengage and get a speed boost? Yes.

Tipsy Sway: Leap to Your Feet is basically one half of the Athlete feat. Redirect Attack can be good depending on the attacker.

Drunkard's Luck: 2 ki points to cancel disadvantage. Note that it says cancel, so check with your DM whether this means you can gain advantage on the roll.

Intoxicated Frenzy: Spread your attacks around a lot of creatures. Unfortunately you're not going to be doing that much damage in your beast form at this level.[/sblock]

Way of the Four Elements:
I really don't want to go over this. I really don't. So I won't. There's several fixes out there, and if you can convince your DM to use one of them then it might be worth taking, but not like this. Not like this.

Way of the Kensei:
You can't use weapons in beast form (most of the time, at least) so all of these features are meaningless to you.

Way of the Long Death:
This subclass is packed full of goodies that help your survival. But not just that, they all work in beast form, helping you stay in beast form longer.
[sblock]Touch of Death: Whenever you drop an adjacent creature, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Wisdom modifier and your monk level (min 1). This is amazing for your ability to take damage in beast form, especially when HP starts to increase more slowly.

Hour of Reaping: Frightened is a good condition to inflict. The only thing stopping this mass frighten from being sky blue is how it affects your allies too.

Mastery of Death: Now you can spend 1 ki point to not drop out of beast form when you don't want to.

Touch of the Long Death: You should be capable of doing the equivalent of 3 or 4 ki points of damage each round, this just isn't worth it for you.[/sblock]

Way of the Open Hand:
Most of these don't have ki costs, so you're not losing out by using these features, you're just not gaining that much.
[sblock]Open Hand Technique: Whenever you flurry, you can either have the target make a Dexterity save or be knocked prone, a Strength save of be pushed up to 15 feet, or just deny them their reactions. The last one is what makes this more than purple, as it allows you to walk away without triggering opportunity attacks from the creature.

Wholeness of Body: Healing three times your monk level is good, but it's an action and once per day. This is good when you need it, but to get the most use of it, you also have to be close to dying/reverting.

Tranquility: This has applications, but mostly for scouting. But only if you do it before any combat.

Quivering Palm: For the low price of 3 ki, you either reduce something to 0 HP or deal 10d10 damage. This is also useful for out of combat applications, as the effect can be triggered days after the hit.[/sblock]

Way of Shadow:
Some good things here, some not so good for you. But enough to be worth considering.
[sblock]Shadow Arts: The only thing stopping this from being Red is the ability to cast Pass Without Trace. You can't do it in beast form, but it's still good utility to have.

Shadow Step: This is great, if conditional, mobility, and it gives you advantage on your first melee attack.

Cloak of Shadows: The action to use, and attacking breaking it, makes this quite combersome in combat. Where it does best is in scouting.

Opportunist: This would be sky blue if it weren't so far into the Monk class. Still, getting a reliable way to attack with your reaction is good.[/sblock]

Way of the Sun Soul:
The flier's delight. A lot of ranged options here, which combines well with anything high mobility. Unfortunately, it's not very friendly with multiclassing.
[sblock]Radiant Sun Bolt: A decent ranged option, although not as powerful as your regular attacks due to your multiclassing.

Searing Arc Strike: This is actually a really good feature, and the increased spell level is really cheap. Unfortunately, we can't cast spells in beast form.

Searing Sunburst: The range, the radius! The lack of cost! The... lack of damage. This is good for clearing out hordes, or aerial bombardment. Unfortunately it targets Constitution and does no damage on a successful save.

Sun Shield: This... is a capstone? You can spend your reaction to deal up to 10 radiant damage? The best bit about this is turning yourself into a torch.[/sblock]
 
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Yunru

Banned
Banned
Post 3: Multiclassing and Races​


Multiclassing:

There are several things to consider when it comes to multiclassing:
  • Martial Arts adds another attack to all our beast forms that have a single action attack.
  • Extra Attack adds another attack to all our beast forms that have a single action attack.
  • Unarmored Defense adds an alternate AC for us that is in most cases going to be higher than our beast form's.
  • Beast forms start to fall behind in power after CR 3.
  • Ability score increases happen every 4 class levels, not character levels.

Ultimately the decision on when to multiclass it up to you. Ideally you want to start level 3 with one level of Monk, and two levels of Druid, but after that it's a question of trade-offs.


Races:

As we'll be in beast form most of the time, our physical stats don't matter too much. All we need is a 13 in Dexterity and Wisdom to multiclass, both of which will be easy to hit. That said, a lot of our features use our Wisdom, so we'll want to favour races that grant a Wisdom bonus.

Top Competitors:
Ghostwise Halfling: +1 Wisdom, solves problem of being unable to communicate
Half-Elf: +2 Charisma, two other +1s. Good for resisting control and denial spells
 
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Yunru

Banned
Banned
Post 4: Combat forms​


Druid 2-3:
Brown Bear: With low Dexterity and multiattack, this front runner for a normal druid is somewhere in the middle of the league for the karate kid.

Crag Cat: The Crag Cat is the best choice if your fighting a spellcaster. It has decent attack that you can use with Martial Arts, a high dexterity score, darkvision, nondetection, and oh yeah, Spell Turning.

Deinonychus: Subpar health and a subpar attack lets this one down.

Dire Wolf: One of the top choices, the dire wolf has a good HP, a good attack, and pack tactics.

Female Steeder: A great Dexterity score and a great attack combine to make a great choice. It also has good mobility.

Giant Hyena: If you're looking at this, you're probably also looking at the Dire Wolf. It's up to you whether the possible prone and pack tactics is worth giving up for an half-dash when you drop an enemy.

Giant Spider: Low health lets down an otherwise solid choice. A ranged option to restrain is good, even if it's likely to only cost the opponents one action, and the bite damage is above average.

Lion: Subpar health and subpar damage lets down the Lion. Pack tactics might alleviate it a bit, but the Dire Wolf and Giant Hyena are both strictly better.

Tiger: Somewhat in the same boat as the Lion. It trades pack tactis for decent health.

Druid 4-5:

Giant Octopus: If you can get around only breathing water, this is a decent choice. Your land speed is only 10 feet, but that can be increased by the Monk's Unarmored Movement. You have a whopping 52 hit points, and an attack that deals an average of 10 damage, plus grapples and restrains a target. You can't use the attack on another target if you do grapple though, so make sure to pummel them to death before moving on. The breathing water and low land speed are what stops this from being sky blue.

Giant Toad: The problem with the Giant Toad is that swallow is an action, and if you grapple something you can't use your strong attack. Otherwise this would be a solid choice.

Druid 6-7:

Allosaurus: The Allosaurus has good HP, and a good attack. Pounce is a wasted feature though.

Aurochs: Bad HP is what really holds this one back, as otherwise it's a good bruiser. Unfortunately charge and low HP are not a good combination.

Cave Bear: A decent amount of health, a decent attack (although multiattack is wasted), and darkvision makes for an okay choice.

Giant Boar: An otherwise decent choice, let down by poor accuracy.

Giant Constrictor Snake: High HP, a decent Dexterity, and an amazing attack. Plus blindsight.

Giant Crayfish: If the Giant Constrictor Snake is a top pick, this is the mirror opposite. It's got average health, low Dexterity, and an attack that would be okay with multiattack, but not for us. It does have a bigger blindsight though.

Giant Elk: Decent HP, a high Dexterity, a decent attack to use with charge, and an amazing attack if you get an opponent prone.

Hunter Shark: A decent HP, a decent attack, and blood frenzy. Obviously it's much less useful outside of the water.

Plesiosaurus: You've a lot of HP and otherwise decent stats across the board.

Polar Bear: If you have access to Cave Bear forms, then this is a trap, otherwise see the Cave Bear entry.

Rhinoceros: The charger the Giant Boar should of been. A decent HP, a decent attack, and charge is a nice boost. A negative Dexterity modifier though.

Saber-Toothed Tiger: See the Tiger for everything wrong with this.

Druid 8:
Quetzalcoatlus: A low health makes you fragile, but a fly speed and flyby means you hopefully won't be taking that many attacks. Dive is a nice boost to attack damage, although you'll need to boost your speed to get the most out of it.

Druid 9-11:
Ankylosaurus: Keeping it simple,the Ankylosaurus has a decent HP and AC, and a great attack.

Giant Lightning Eel: A weak bite attack and a low HP makes this a less than stellar choice.

Giant Scorpion: Decent HP, decent AC, blindsight 60 ft. Multiattack and the Claw attack are wasted, but Sting is definitely a good choice.

Killer Whale: If you can find a way to get this thing a speed other than swim, this outclasses the Ankylosaurus. 120 feet of blindsight, keen hearing, 90 HP, and a great attack.

Druid 12-14:
Elephant: HP has really slowed down here, but the elephant is also lacking in every other area too.

Giant Subterranean Lizard: Low health, even compared to the other two beasts of this level, and it's Dexterity modifier means that it's AC isn't going to improve, but it does what the Giant Frog doesn't: It swallows as an attack, rather than an action. Both Bite and Swallow are great attacks.

Stegosaurus: Another simple beast. Big attack, low Dex.

Druid 15-17:
Brontosaurus: Triple digit HP, and amazing attacks. It also has an AC of 15 if you weren't convinced.

Giant Crocodile: It's health could be better, it's AC isn't going above 14, and multiattack is wasted, but its attacks have great conditions on a hit.

Giant Shark: If you're in a water area, then this is for you. It has a large HP, a fast swim speed, 60 ft of blindsight, blood frenzy and a decent attack.

Hulking Crab: This, however, you want to stay away from, water or otherwise. It lacks HP, Dexterity, or a decent attack. The only thing going for it is an AC of 17.

Triceratops: Unimpressive all round, I'm afraid.
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I like the concept, but both monk and druid are very dependent on class level, not character level. It's like there's little natural synergy except for unarmed defense occasionally raising AC and the extra martial arts attack.

Monk levels don't increase wildshape CR, nor casting. Until you reach high levels of Monk the unarmed damage is probably no/minimal increase over a druid form.

Druid levels don't help get to extra attack, don't advance monk unarmed or Ki points.

This does give a strong tier 1 & 2 character - and that's not something to be dismissed since that's where most play time seems to happen.

But ignoring Elemental forms as not much synergy discounts how improved they are over beast forms already. Is a monk/druid better at physical then a straight druid with elemental form? The straight druid would also have the advantage casting when not wildshaped. I worry this won't keep up.

Or is the idea to have an unbalanced growth as primary - monk 2 and the rest druid for unarmored defense, movement, extra martial arts attack, and ki. Or Moon Druid 2 for wild shape extra HPs/form's movement and then go the rest Monk?
 

Yunru

Banned
Banned
I like the concept, but both monk and druid are very dependent on class level, not character level. It's like there's little natural synergy except for unarmed defense occasionally raising AC and the extra martial arts attack.

Monk levels don't increase wildshape CR, nor casting. Until you reach high levels of Monk the unarmed damage is probably no/minimal increase over a druid form.

Druid levels don't help get to extra attack, don't advance monk unarmed or Ki points.

This does give a strong tier 1 & 2 character - and that's not something to be dismissed since that's where most play time seems to happen.

But ignoring Elemental forms as not much synergy discounts how improved they are over beast forms already. Is a monk/druid better at physical then a straight druid with elemental form? The straight druid would also have the advantage casting when not wildshaped. I worry this won't keep up.

Or is the idea to have an unbalanced growth as primary - monk 2 and the rest druid for unarmored defense, movement, extra martial arts attack, and ki. Or Moon Druid 2 for wild shape extra HPs/form's movement and then go the rest Monk?
I do plan on going over this exact thing along with some sample builds (it's what's taking me so long, in part). The crib notes are that Extra Attack makes up for the srop in offense (and then some), while your higher AC partially compensates for the lack of HP higher CR critters have (except CR 3, it seems). Whether to go beyond Monk 5 depends on whether you want more Ki for your Ki abilities, or bigger CR forms. Given the official high CR beasts, you'll want to be Monk.

A karate kid should play well from 3rd to 16th level, although tier 4 will be on a martial's level rather than a spellcaster's.

It's better to consider levels in Druid to be like MCing Rogue for Sneak Attack: Every three levels you get a boost to your damage.

One thing to note is how good Way of the Long Death is for boosting a low CR creature's usefulness.

Sorry if I'm a bit rambly, I'm ill at the moment.

Edit: As for elemental forms, in terms of offense and defence, they're at best on par with karate kids, which is why I dismiss them. The special features don't seem worth both your Wildshapes.
 
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RogueJK

It's not "Rouge"... That's makeup.
One of the things I really like about dipping 1 level of Monk with Moon Druid is that you can play it as a really flavorful "feral Druid", who doesn't use any weapons or armor. Picture a dirty, naked Halfling who was literally raised by wolves. They hurl themselves at enemies to claw and bite at them, and Wildshape into animal forms to better claw and bite the bad guys.

Focus on having a high DEX and WIS, trying to get WIS to 20 ASAP and then eventually DEX. You'll also want a moderate CON, for times when you're not using Wildshape, or you get knocked out of Wildshape in the midst of combat.

You'll spend most combats Wildshaped, but even when in your normal form, you're still able to do two unarmed strikes per round for 1d4+DEX. Plus you will have a higher AC thanks to DEX+WIS, even without any weapons or armor. (A Druid/Monk's unarmored AC maxes out at AC 20, higher than a normal Druid using Hide Armor and Shield, which maxes out at AC 16.) When ranged attacks are needed, you can use a cantrip like Produce Flame, which also acts as a handy source of light since Halflings don't have Darkvision. As you gain levels and your 2x 1d4+DEX unarmed strikes are starting to get outclassed, you can switch to using the Primal Savagery cantrip for scaling d10 magic claw attacks. (Past Level 10, Primal Savagery's single attack doing 3d10 and later 4d10 will outdamage two attacks doing 1d4+DEX each, plus Primal Savagery can hit enemies who are resistant or immune to your unarmed strike's non-magical bludgeoning damage.)

And when you Wildshape, you will have a higher AC than normal due to using the animal's DEX + your WIS to calculate AC instead of the animal's Natural Armor + animal's DEX. Nearly all Wildshape forms have only +1/+2/+3 Natural Armor, whereas your Monk/Druid will have +3/+4/+5 WIS modifier, so AC will generally be a few points higher than usual. (Although there are a couple exceptions where you'll want to stick to the creature's higher Natural Armor, like Earth Elementals.) And you can utilize the Martial Arts bonus attack with most forms, though there's some competition for your Bonus Action between the Martial Arts bonus attacks and the bonus actions needed to control various spells designed to be running while Wildshaped, like Moonbeam, Healing Spirit, or Flaming Sphere.

That's a whole lot of benefit from just 1 level of Monk. Well worth delaying your Moon Druid's progression by 1 level, IMO. However, the benefits of dipping Monk drop off dramatically past 1 level.
 
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RogueJK

It's not "Rouge"... That's makeup.
Female Steeder: A great Dexterity score and a great attack combine to make a great choice. It also has good mobility.

Steeders are Monstrosities, not Beasts. Therefore they're not eligible for Wildshape. (They were originally published as Beasts in Out of the Abyss, but that was corrected to Monstrosities in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.)

Giant Toad: The problem with the Giant Toad is that swallow is an action, and if you grapple something you can't use your strong attack. Otherwise this would be a solid choice.

Giant Toad's aren't a Wildshape Option until Level 4, since they have a swim speed.
 

Yunru

Banned
Banned
Giant Toad's aren't a Wildshape Option until Level 4, since they have a swim speed.
Thanks for catching that!

Steeders are Monstrosities, not Beasts. Therefore they're not eligible for Wildshape. (They were originally published as Beasts in Out of the Abyss, but that was corrected to Monstrosities in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.)
One isn't an errata for the other, so Steeders exist as both Monstrosities and Beasts. As such, I'll continue to list it for those who run into beast Steeders.

I wish WotC stopped messing up the good product they made, but alas, they decide that both stat blocks are official.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Thanks for explaining all of that, it makes sense.

There is one point I'm still not sure about:

Edit: As for elemental forms, in terms of offense and defence, they're at best on par with karate kids, which is why I dismiss them. The special features don't seem worth both your Wildshapes.

I'm not sure I see this. At character level 10, a straight druid has elemental wildshape if they need it. At character level 10, what does a karate kid have to emulate?

monk 5/druid 5 would have extra attack, but on a CR 2 creature. unarmed would be lower then the elemental wildshape damages. depending on the elemental wildshape vs. wildshape forms which has better movement when you include the monk bonus. An earth elemental has better AC then unarmed defense will give you as well as all those HPs.

As for using two wildshapes, I'll give you two scenarios that both equal that out. First is a tough battle where you'll run out of HPs of the first form and need to use the another. The other is that a druid 5 will be able to maintain a wildshape for only 2 hours, while a druid 10 will be able to maintain a wildshape for 5 hours - likely that if not brought to zero that it can likely last through what would cover two shorter uses, and likely until a short rest.
 

Yunru

Banned
Banned
Thanks for explaining all of that, it makes sense.

There is one point I'm still not sure about:



I'm not sure I see this. At character level 10, a straight druid has elemental wildshape if they need it. At character level 10, what does a karate kid have to emulate?

monk 5/druid 5 would have extra attack, but on a CR 2 creature. unarmed would be lower then the elemental wildshape damages. depending on the elemental wildshape vs. wildshape forms which has better movement when you include the monk bonus. An earth elemental has better AC then unarmed defense will give you as well as all those HPs.

As for using two wildshapes, I'll give you two scenarios that both equal that out. First is a tough battle where you'll run out of HPs of the first form and need to use the another. The other is that a druid 5 will be able to maintain a wildshape for only 2 hours, while a druid 10 will be able to maintain a wildshape for 5 hours - likely that if not brought to zero that it can likely last through what would cover two shorter uses, and likely until a short rest.
Everything's evaulated with regards to being multiclassed already, so when I talk about Elementals I'm comparing a Monk 1(-5)/Druid 10's beast form to their elemental.

That said, a Monk 5/Druid 5 is probably worse off than a Druid 10, although how much of that is the druid not getting CR2 forms I'm unsure of.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
"An attack with a natural weapon is not an unarmed strike. An unarmed strike follows the unarmed strike rules in the Player's Handbook, no matter what type of creature is attacking. Some exceptional natural weapons, such as tabaxi claws, can be used for unarmed strikes." -Crawford on Twitter
 


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