log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Why do Monks only have d8 HP instead of d10 HP?


log in or register to remove this ad

Lyxen

Great Old One
Really? I just mentioned a very easy build to get guaranteed ranged sneak attack twice per round... it only really needs a few ranks in one skill and a single feat.
If you are really going to compare a dual wand rogue with Pun Pun, I don't think it's line or argument is going to lead us anywhere.
It's not a rogue build, it relies on wands an on Improved Invisibility, so it's probably Arcane Trickster, which means you can't pull that off until fairly late in the game and your sneak attack is gimped by you arcane trickster level, not mentioning that you need to case Improved Invisibility first and then have adversaries which, at that level, don't know how to deal with invisibility, which is certainly not a guarantee.
 

Nefermandias

Adventurer
It's not a rogue build, it relies on wands an on Improved Invisibility, so it's probably Arcane Trickster, which means you can't pull that off until fairly late in the game and your sneak attack is gimped by you arcane trickster level, not mentioning that you need to case Improved Invisibility first and then have adversaries which, at that level, don't know how to deal with invisibility, which is certainly not a guarantee.
It relies on sneak attack and rogue's (and bard's, I guess) exclusive skill Use Magic Device...
How come it's not "a rogue build"?

I'm out.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
It's not a rogue build, it relies on wands an on Improved Invisibility, so it's probably Arcane Trickster, which means you can't pull that off until fairly late in the game and your sneak attack is gimped by you arcane trickster level, not mentioning that you need to case Improved Invisibility first and then have adversaries which, at that level, don't know how to deal with invisibility, which is certainly not a guarantee.
You could have done it with Use Magic Devices - but the wand is pretty expensive.
The wand-making rules were pretty game skewing and I'm glad they're now gone.
 


Nefermandias

Adventurer
Enough said indeed...
You do realize the invisibility is not required, right? Plenty of ways to make the opponent flat footed without being invisible. It's just the easiest way.
Heck, even in Order of the Stick Vaarsuvius uses this tactic of casting Greater Invisibility on Halley... It's not rocket science.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
You do realize the invisibility is not required, right? Plenty of ways to make the opponent flat footed without being invisible. It's just the easiest way.

And again, in my experience, there are not that many if the adversaries are at the right level, especially if you're ranged with wands.

Heck, even in Order of the Stick Vaarsuvius uses this tactic of casting Greater Invisibility on Halley... It's not rocket science.

No-one said it was, but do they use it systematically ? No, because it takes resources and the circumstances are not always appropriate, also magic is not always reliable and neither is invisibility.
 

Nefermandias

Adventurer
And again, in my experience, there are not that many if the adversaries are at the right level, especially if you're ranged with wands.



No-one said it was, but do they use it systematically ? No, because it takes resources and the circumstances are not always appropriate, also magic is not always reliable and neither is invisibility.
I think our divergence here is our conflicting notions on how abundant magic items were in 3e. I'm not in the mood to pull my old DMG and look at the wealth by level table though.
 

Campbell

Legend
I know that historically monks in D&D have been a sort of mobile harrier with strong control (not that the implementation has ever really worked), but that's not the experience a lot of people who are aesthetically attracted to monks want. A good number of people just want to kick dragons in the teeth. Paizo made the right call in Pathfinder Unchained when they made elevated monks to the profile of paladins, rangers, and fighters. I think Wizards should follow suit.
 

Stalker0

Legend
not mentioning that you need to case Improved Invisibility first and then have adversaries which, at that level, don't know how to deal with invisibility, which is certainly not a guarantee.
Another example from that game I just mentioned. The rogue (16th level) in the group has a ring of invisibility, and yet still often doesn't get SA in the first round due to how many high CR monsters have the ability to negate it.
 
Last edited:

Lyxen

Great Old One
I think our divergence here is our conflicting notions on how abundant magic items were in 3e. I'm not in the mood to pull my old DMG and look at the wealth by level table though.

I think it runs deeper than that, having the correct wealth by level does not mean that you will get all the items that one would need for one's build anyway.
 

Nefermandias

Adventurer
I think it runs deeper than that, having the correct wealth by level does not mean that you will get all the items that one would need for one's build anyway.
If you don't restrict a simple feat from the PHB, they will. It's a well known fact of 3e that players are expected to have easy access to items. Especially wands that are dirt cheap compared to other types of items.
 


Lyxen

Great Old One
If you don't restrict a simple feat from the PHB, they will. It's a well known fact of 3e that players are expected to have easy access to items. Especially wands that are dirt cheap compared to other types of items.

There is no such "well known fact", and no such expectation in the rules. And in our multiple campaigns, there was certainly no easy access to wands (or other items, actually, even though we used the crafting rules, the limitation in terms of pre-requisites, money and downtime were sufficient to avoid silliness), as they were ridiculously cheap items with stupid level of power.
 


Voadam

Legend
Slightly more complicated than that. :)

When Supplement II introduced the monk and assassin classes late in '75, these were the first classes that had a built-in level cap for human characters but which got one hit die per level all the way up to their cap (rather than transitioning from hit dice to bonus hp the way fighting men, magic-users, clerics, and thieves all did). The monk had 16 levels and got 1d4 hp per level (max 1d6d4), and the assassin had 13 levels (not counting the pseudo-14th level of "guildmaster," which didn't get a hit die) and 1d6 hp per level (max 13d6).

This is in comparison to the four basic classes, which had no upper limit on levels, but hit dice capped out as follows: 9d8 for fighting men (+2 hp per level above 9th), 11d4 for magic-users (+1 hp per level above 11th), 8d6 for clerics (+1 hp per two levels above 8th), and 10d4 for thieves (+1 hp per two levels above 10th). The cleric and the thief only gained a bonus hit point every other level above name level because fighting men and magic-users needed considerably more XP to gain levels. (In AD&D, this discrepancy was resolved by increasing the XP needed for clerics and thieves to reach high levels, brining them in line with white box OD&D fighters and magic-users. Whereas in basic D&D, the opposite was done, and fighters and magic-users needed less XP above name level, more in line with the original cleric and thief.)

So in AD&D, you had nearly all the classes other than magic-user get their hit points bumped up.
• Fighters now got 9d10 (+3 per level after), clerics 9d8 (+2), thieves 10d6 (+2), and magic-users 11d4 (+1).
• Paladins had the same hit dice as fighters (which made sense, since paladins began as a set of tacked-on abilities for Lawful fighters with Cha 17+); whereas rangers (which originally, in The Strategic Review, had 2 hit dice at 1st level and went up to 10 dice at 9th, +2 thereafter; but could have either d6 or d8 dice depending on whether the DM's campaign was using the original LBB rules for hit dice where everyone had d6s, or the revised rules from Sup I that gave fighters d8s) were settled on d8s for hit dice, 2 at 1st level and then up to 11d8, still +2 above that.
• Illusionists were pretty much like MUs, except that they capped out at 10d4 instead of 11d4 dice (whereas the original illusionist from SR didn't specify beyond saying "sub-class of magic-user").
• Druids had 14 levels, and so (like the monk and assassin) they wound up with one per level — in this case, 14d8 hp (bumped up from the original 13d6 in Supplement III; both versions' highest levels were still called "The Great Druid," because Grand Druids and Hierophants wouldn't be a thing until Unearthed Arcana; but AD&D inserted the "Ovate" rank at 2nd level between Aspirants and 1st Circle Initiates).
• Assassins now had 15 levels (with "guildmaster" becoming a real 14th level, and "grandfather of assassins" the new 15th level, so up to 15d6 for hit dice).
• And bards, originally 1d6 per level up to 10d6 (+1 hp thereafter) were changed into that weird prestige class, apparently able to earn those 10 six-sided hit dice on top of any fighter or thief hit dice acquired first.

Which brings us to the monk. The Supplement II monk was very clearly noted a sub-class of cleric, same as the druid. If you had all the supplements and newsletters, the classes in OD&D were fighting man (paladin, ranger), magic-user (illusionist), cleric (monk, druid), thief (assassin), and bard. AD&D pulled the monk out and made it its own class, gave it an extra experience level (just like the assassin and the druid), and also gave it an extra hit die at level 1, the same as the ranger had. So AD&D monks had 17 levels and could have up to 18d4 for hit points, but with each die getting its own Con adjustment (and monks needed at least Con 15+ to qualify for the class in AD&D, so if you were a monk, you had at least +1 hp per die from Con, and very possibly +2 per die if your Con was 16 or better!).

This was the state of things for early 1st edition; of course late 1st edition was a different beast thanks to Unearthed Arcana and Dragon Magazine. I won't go into all the changes wrought on the classes by UA (like druids raising their level limit but not their hit dice, or the introduction of the barbarian), but I'll point out that the Dragon #53 variant monk was very popular, and it raised the class's level limit from 17th to 21st and bumped the hit dice to d6s, so this monk capped out with 22d6 hit dice!

There's also basic D&D to consider, which reintroduced a version of the monk with a human monster entry called the "mystic," which could have anywhere from 1 to 16 (eight-sided) hit dice (just like the original Sup II monk's 16 levels) in both its original form and as an optional PC type in the D&D Master Set. When the mystic was revised for the Rules Cyclopedia, it retained its limit of 16 experience levels, but now its hit dice were six-sided like a cleric's and capped at 9 just like all the other classes. (In basic D&D, the fighter gets 9d8, +2 thereafter; the mystic, 9d6, +2; the cleric, 9d6, +1; the thief, 9d4, +2; and the magic-user, 9d4, +1 thereafter. Dwarves get 9d8, then +3 for levels 10–12; elves get 9d6 and then either +1 or +2 at 10th level depending on the version; and halflings cap out at 8th level, so they only ever get 8d6.)

When AD&D 2nd edition came along, it did a big thing: it reorganized all the sub-classes into class groups, and it made all the hit dice uniform within a group (for the most part). When the 2nd edition monk finally appeared in Greyhawk: Scarlet Brotherhood, it was once again a member of the "priest" group. So 2nd edition classes looked like this:

• Warriors (fighters, paladins, rangers, and I think there was even a gladiator class in this group eventually?) all got 1d10 up to 9th level, then +3 hp. (Barbarian fighters were one of two exceptions, getting d12 dice up to 9th level, which was one more than the 8d12 that barbarians originally got back in UA!)
• Priests (clerics, druids, monks, crusaders, shamans, countless other specialty priests) got 1d8 up to 9th level then +2 per level. (NB, the other exception to the general rule also came from the Complete Barbarian's Handbook: this version of the shaman rolled d10s for hit dice, a feature not shared by the Spells & Magic shaman class.)
• Rogues (thieves, bards, assassins, ninjas) got 1d6 up to 10th level, then +2 per level.
• Psionicists got 1d6 up to 9th level, then +2 per level.
• Wizards (mages, the eight school specialists, setting-specific variants like the sha'ir, and countless more types of specialist wizards from later sources—artificers, geomancers, and so forth) all got 1d4 up to 10th and then +1 hp thereafter, just like the 1st edition illusionist (one fewer than the 1st edition magic-user!).

So when 3rd edition came around and obliterated the concept of sub-classes or class groups, the days of this beautiful uniformity were numbered. It held on for a while: with the original PHB classes, you could see a reflection of the old class groups in fighters, paladins, and rangers all having 1d10, the barbarian uniquely still having its d12, the cleric and druid and monk all sharing the d8, the rogue and the bard with d6, and the wizard and sorcerer with d4.

3.5 came along, dropped the ranger back down to d8, and that was pretty much the end of the old system. Whatever new classes were added in 3.5, any hit die type was fair game, and there was no more real logic to it. 4th edition, of course, did away with hit dice entirely, and when 5th edition brought them back, it took a cue from Pathfinder in excising the d4 hit die from the list, which resulted in another system-wide bump of hit points across many of the classes — but one that worked exactly opposite to the original bump that Gary Gygax worked into 1st edition, to the advantage of fighters and the necessary detriment of magic-users.

So… yeah. Thanks for coming to my blog talk. ∎
A good summary of the early editions.

A few things missed however.

In 1e in addition to the PH monk and the fantastic Dragon Magazine monk there was the 1e Oriental Adventures monk which had the unfortunate d4 HD 1e PH scheme but leveraged the cool new martial arts styles from the book.

In 2e in addition to the WotC era late 2e Greyhawk Scarlet Brotherhood sourcebook which has monks as a priest class with no spells, there is the Fighting-Monk kit from the 2e Complete Priest's Handbook, which was a full spellcasting priest who gave up armor and access to a number of spell spheres in return for the unarmed attacks, and to the monk priest class in the 2e Forgotten Realms gods books such as Faiths & Avatars where they were spellcasting priests with specific spheres but who gave up turning and armor for the unarmored fighting.

So in 2e they were often d8 HD priests who were moderate combatants combined with spellcasting similar to clerics. This shifted back to the nonspellcasting model with the Scarlet Brotherhood, but still based on the priest HD chasis.

This continued into 3e where their moderate BAB and HD were slightly bolstered by things like evasion and having all saving throws as strong so they were slightly stronger than the warrior type classes on some specific aspects of defense.

In Pathfinder 1e this was carried on straight, and then they upgraded them in unchained monks (giving up strong will saves and some class powers for full warrior BAB and HD) and hybrid monk brawlers (similar) to better represent tougher combatants who can take more punishment.

In 4e they were classified as strikers, meaning they hit harder than tough defender classes like fighters and paladins, but were frailer with lower hp and defenses. This worked really well conceptually, mobile striker is a great balanced combat niche and is a good rationale for lower hp than tank defenders whose role is designed to suck up and survive attacks to protect others.

In 5e they are still based on the 3e model, a cleric/druid chassis but with class powers and no spells.

Conceptually I think 5e/3e/AD&D monks should have lots of hp. Their concept is martial artist combatant and hp represents both being tough and surviving combat attacks. Conceptually I expect a martial artist monk to handle being directly physically attacked better than a druid.

In 4e I am fine with monks/rangers/rogues being quick hard hitting skirmisher combatants who are more fragile than tank defender concept combatants.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Conceptually I think 5e/3e/AD&D monks should have lots of hp. Their concept is martial artist combatant and hp represents both being tough and surviving combat attacks. Conceptually I expect a martial artist monk to handle being directly physically attacked better than a druid.
So I think the problem with that model is "Tough" actually has two aspects to it in 5e:
  • Ability to take lots of pain
  • Ability to reduce needed healing.
The fighter for example, is tough because of its high AC AND the fact that it gets a free heal every short rest. The paladin gets lots of healing. The barbarian can soak lots of damage by halving it with rage. Even the rogue can do a similar soak once per round.

The monk.... has none of that unless you take the Open Hand style. Its AC is not particularly great, but it also has no healing recovery. This means that a healing in a group with a monk is going to get tapped more than if they had a fighter.... monks are healing sponges.

So increasing the Monk HD to d10 does give it a little more toughness, and a little bit more recovery on a short rest...but they are still damage sponges in comparison to other front liners.


The two abilities I've been trying in my own homebrew lately:

1) Patient Defense: (remove bonus action) Spend 1 ki as a reaction to an attack or dex saving throw.
2) Meditation: A monk uses an action and begins concentrating, like on a spell. After 1 minute of concentrating, they regain hitpoints equal to their martial arts die + proficiency bonus. This ability can be used a number of times per day equal to the monk's proficiency bonus.

The first gives the monk a solid AC when they need it (without spending KI just for the risk), and doesn't interfere with their offense. Meditation gives them more recovery so they aren't as reliant on secondary sources, but not in a way that clashes with the fighter or paladin, the healing is good but slow.
 

Undrave

Hero
They were never meant to be Tanks. They either attack or evade.
Except they're not good at either of those. IF, and only IF, you manage to get 16 in both WIS and DEX at level, your AC is on par with chain mail, something a Fighter or Cleric can get with, at worst, 13 in STR. Without a shield. And you need to keep up both WIS and DEX stat bump otherwise you'll fall behind further... AND you don't get magical armor. The Monk isn't dodgy, he's not tanky and his attacks are more like a thousand mosquito bites. What IS the Monk even MEANT to be then?!
THIS!

Not saying you should never use FOB, but it is rarely a good use of ki, especially when you get martial arts attack anyway without using any ki. Dodge or stunning strike are almost always a better way to use ki.
Stunning Strike comes online at level 5. Without FOB your damage output is just plain bad. And dodge just takes away your bonus attack. Dodging in D&D is like gaining life points in a card game: it doesn't advance your game state, it just makes you lose slower.
This Ed gives to much HP as it is. PCs and NPCs.
the Monk HP is RELATIVELY too low compared to other characters in similar situation.
Then they should cut down their mobility and other class features.

Monks are not supposed to outperform fighters and barbarians.

They trade combat progress for other stuff
What 'other stuff'? What is the Monk 'supposed' to do exactly if it's not bashing faces with his ultimate weapon: his body? Aside from being a Shadow Monk and being impossibly good at stealth, there's not that much there that a Rogue or a Bard isn't automatically better at with their skill bonuses.
Having clever adversaries noticing a rogue and taking appropriate countermeasures is also something that I do as well, in particular because it would be really stupid for most monsters to ignore the shifty character who you know is just waiting for an opportunity to sink his dagger into your kidneys...
And that's why 4e had Defender mechanics to make it a lose-lose proposition to try to go after the Rogue...
After that I agree that for both rogues and monks other pillars of the game should also be a compensation for maybe slightly less efficiency in frontal combat than other martial classes. I find it a bit annoying that people don't care about their other advantages but still want to be the equal to the best in others' areas of expertise.
4e gave us Striker Rogues and Monks, people kinda grew accustomed (and in other video game contexts too) for them to be glass canons. In 5e, it seems only casters get to be glass canons.
Combat is the primary way you can get killed and usually takes a large portion of table time in any given game session. I am a firm believer that all classes should be able to contribute to it in equal footing. We are going to have to agree to disagree in this one.
Yup, this old idea of "oh you're bad here, but you're great there!" is just not a good idea when you have no certitude on how much time each pillar will actually consume at the table.
I know that historically monks in D&D have been a sort of mobile harrier with strong control (not that the implementation has ever really worked), but that's not the experience a lot of people who are aesthetically attracted to monks want. A good number of people just want to kick dragons in the teeth. Paizo made the right call in Pathfinder Unchained when they made elevated monks to the profile of paladins, rangers, and fighters. I think Wizards should follow suit.
People want to rock the dragon by going Dragonball on his dragon balls with their bare feet and hands. It's not hard of a concept to grasp! All this BS "Oh the monk is mobile and can go lock down the casters :)" is just not a real fiction people care about. It shouldn't be the thing the class is based on... heck, I think it's an emergent property and that the 5e Monk has not been designed with any actual purpose in mind. It's just a pile of legacy features that somehow coalesce into something resembling a Class well enough to fool people. You could replace all the Ki use from the features that use it with 'Proficiency Bonus times per day" and it would have the same result and just reveal how disconnected they all are from each other.
 

Undrave

Hero
The monk.... has none of that unless you take the Open Hand style. Its AC is not particularly great, but it also has no healing recovery. This means that a healing in a group with a monk is going to get tapped more than if they had a fighter.... monks are healing sponges.

So increasing the Monk HD to d10 does give it a little more toughness, and a little bit more recovery on a short rest...but they are still damage sponges in comparison to other front liners.


The two abilities I've been trying in my own homebrew lately:

1) Patient Defense: (remove bonus action) Spend 1 ki as a reaction to an attack or dex saving throw.
2) Meditation: A monk uses an action and begins concentrating, like on a spell. After 1 minute of concentrating, they regain hitpoints equal to their martial arts die + proficiency bonus. This ability can be used a number of times per day equal to the monk's proficiency bonus.

The first gives the monk a solid AC when they need it (without spending KI just for the risk), and doesn't interfere with their offense. Meditation gives them more recovery so they aren't as reliant on secondary sources, but not in a way that clashes with the fighter or paladin, the healing is good but slow.
Good plan!
 

Stalker0

Legend
What 'other stuff'? What is the Monk 'supposed' to do exactly if it's not bashing faces with his ultimate weapon: his body? Aside from being a Shadow Monk and being impossibly good at stealth, there's not that much there that a Rogue or a Bard isn't automatically better at with their skill bonuses.
Honestly I think you could make a solid case for the Monk as a Rogue subclass.

Frankly Rogue's already have tons of the monk's core payload..... super fast with cunning action, able to deal extra damage through "weak spots", can become expert grapplers (expertise in athletics), able to soak damage through technique (uncanny dodge). At high levels blindsense and evasion.... all the meat is there.

If you had a rogue subclass that granted the unarmed damage and AC without armor, gave them some of the cool mobility stuff like walk on water, and maybe threw in a stunning strike on a sneak attack X times per day.... by gum I think you would have a pretty solid looking monk.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top