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valsedecoconut
2012-03-16, 04:44 AM
I'm new to roleplaying games. My friends (a group of about 5) want to get me into D&D3.5e. They're all fairly experienced players, and are (generally) serious about the roleplay aspect of D&D.

So, we have a sorcerer, a factotum, a swordsage, and a truenamer. The truenamer player is apparently a really good optimizer, so everyone's okay with her playing the supposedly terrible class.

The group tells me that I don't need to worry about familiarizing myself with the system; they'll help me along in-game. I just need to worry about roleplaying. They suggested I play a druid. I'm like, "No, I want to play a monk," and then they facepalmed. Since I insisted, though, they said, "Okay, get someone to help you to optimize your monk to hell." They suggested this website.

We start at level 1. 28-point buy. We should be planning out to at least level 10, possibly 20 by the end of the year. No flaws allowed.

We're allowed to use every official publication, except the "Magazines". I was told that so long as the build mechanically works, I can roleplay it to whatever effect I want--so I don't necessarily have to use monk as my base if I want to play a monk.

The idea I'm toying around with is a LG monk who relies on wisdom for combat effectiveness and who's senses are incredibly good (spot, listen, and other wis-based checks).

In combat, I'd like this monk to be focused on crowd control and tanking.

Not sure if I missed something, but yeah, that's the gist of it.

killianh
2012-03-16, 05:17 AM
Monk isn't necessarily the best for tanking, but I always love a good monk build.

One build I would suggest is Monk 10/Forsaker 10. Forsaker is a class from a book called "Masters of the Wild" and I'm sure you'll be able to find the class at least somewhere online. It gives up on magic making you more resilient to spells with the drawback of beneficial spells (like different boosts and healing) being more difficult as well. In addition it gives you free Stat boosts, defence boosts, save boost, and the like to make up for you not being able to use magic items (Which I would recommend as well since item selection can be as difficult as spell management when your starting out)

In a book called "Book of exalted Deeds" There are two feats that I would recommend you take to go with the build. They are called "Sacred Vow"(which you take as a prerequisite) and "Vow of Poverty". What Vow of Poverty does is gives built-in upgrades to the same things as Forsaker, and it's one of the few feats that improve along with you.

As for stats, other feats, and the like I would say take a read through some of the books and try to figure some stuff out on your own. Reading through things like that will give you a better understanding of the game and you might even be able to think up a few things that'll impress even the more veteran players at your table.

Best of luck and I hope you enjoy the game!

Coidzor
2012-03-16, 05:24 AM
Well, the class that most readily gives the fluff of the martial artist master and competency is the Unarmed Swordsage variant class.

Even a barbarian base has more potential for fighting power than a monk.

Quick question first though, are you married to the idea of only fighting unarmed or are you ok with weapons? How do you feel about armor?

Because if you want to do crowd or battlefield control and not be a caster, you're going to need reach weaponry and likely going to want to be tripping or making use of something that forces enemies to cease their movement in conjunction with attacks of opportunity.

Crusaders can do a fair bit of both tanking (they're actually the best "mundane" tanks in the game IIRC) and melee battlefield control.

Tome of Battle is very friendly towards multiclassing, and so switching between Crusader, Swordsage, and/or Warblade is an option as well. Or at least dipping into one or two of the others on a build that is mainly the 3rd martial adept class.


In a book called "Book of exalted Deeds" There are two feats that I would recommend you take to go with the build. They are called "Sacred Vow"(which you take as a prerequisite) and "Vow of Poverty". What Vow of Poverty does is gives built-in upgrades to the same things as Forsaker, and it's one of the few feats that improve along with you.

I cannot say how bad of an idea this is emphatically enough. You do not want to give up magic items and other benefits of WBL if you have anything approaching the expected amount of wealth per level.

Aeryr
2012-03-16, 05:26 AM
Wow... that's gonna be though... :smalleek:

Monks are not normally good at defense (even if it was the original idea) but I'll try to give you some tips.

-Try to be SAD. Intuitive attack (Book of exalted deeds) lets you use WIS instead of STR for attacks at melee. WIS is probably going to be a good focus for you, since it will also increase your wis based checks (wich you want to increase).

-Don't take more than six levels of monk (normally two is good enough). That means looking at PRCs. Or multiclassing. Fist of the Forest (complete champion) will enhance your defences giving CON to AC). Shiba protector (Oriental adventures) is a bit dirty but one level adds wis to attack and damage. Shadow sun ninja (tome of battle) lets you heal and keep fighting. In my opinion those are the 3 greates PRCs for a monk, but you can work in other directions, tashalatora (a feat from secrets of sarlona) lets stack psionic classes for unarmed damage, in that case my favourite is war mind (if you are going that rute I suggest kalashtar for more PP). If you are changeling and you are feeling dirty Warshapper (complete warrior) is a good call.

-Remember that a good offense can be a good defense. Superior unarmed strike (tome of battle) and Improved natural attack (unarmed strike) (monster manual) are good ideas.

-You can go AoO rute in that case karmic strike / robilar's gambit are good ways of getting attacks and consider using the alternative class feature from PHB. If you go that way take into consideration the Monk of the Enabled hand (from dragon magazine compendium) that at 3rd level has a godsend ability for AoO. (Dragon Magazine Compendium normally is considered a valid source, even if Dragon Magazines are not, since it is a book).

-You might consider VoP (from Book of exalted deeds) it is deffinetly subpar in most games, but since you are new to the game it might lessen the complexity of magic items ussage. Talk to your DM about it.

Ps. If you are going to be tanking and there is already a truenamer in the lot take a look at the martial art that appears in the monk prc from the truenaming section in the tome of magic I am AFB and can't remember the name but a 50% miss chance will increase your survivality.

Ps2. Read this (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1015) for even more ideas.

sonofzeal
2012-03-16, 05:31 AM
Your friends sound like cool sorts. I'm glad you've found yourself a good group!


By "Monk" you seem to mean "unarmed martial artist", and you seem to be flexible in exactly how to realize that vision. That's good. That gives us something to work with.

The two canonical solutions to playing that concept are as follows:

Unarmed Swordsage
Hailing from "Tome of Battle: the Book of Nine Swords", the Swordsage is a martial artist extraordinaire. Using the "unarmed" option from the Variant section of the class write-up, they can become a potent Monk. This variant is not strictly necessary, and isn't really any more powerful than a base Swordsage using, say, a Quarterstaff - but if you want punches to hurt and didn't plan on wearing armor anyway, then it's probably a good idea.

The class has a lot of options. Swordsages gain "maneuvers" from a wide range of schools. I've seen Orc Swordsages who use Tiger Claw for ferocious jumping attacks, Human Swordsages who use Setting Sun for tactical control and manipulating enemies, and Halfling Swordsages who use Shadow Hand to be nigh-unparalleled ninjas and assassins. And since you can pick from multiple schools, there should always be a way to get what you're going for. Unfortunately, the best schools for tanking aren't open to you, but in exchange you'll have speed and mobility on your side - you've got the most options to actually intercept enemies on their way to allies, which is usually the hardest part about tanking in D&D.

As to ease of play, the maneuver system from Tome of Battle is somewhat complicated, but very hard to screw up. Almost any Swordsage will be a viable member of an average party.

Tashalatora
This one's a bit complicated. Using one or two levels of the Monk class, the feat "Monastic Training" from Eberron Campaign Setting, and the feat "Tashalatora" from Secrets of Sarlona, you can basically tack the majority of the Monk's relevant class features onto the Psionic class of your choice. Ardent is a common suggestion, but I'd recommend Psychic Warrior (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/classes/psychicWarrior.htm) largely because they're simpler and accessible via the SRD as I just demonstrated.

A Tashalatora PsiWar hits hard, can be pretty darn tough, and can be nigh-unstoppable at Grappling. Unfortunately, they start a little slower than the Swordsage. For the first couple levels, you're basically just a Monk - and that's terrible. However, as you level up, you'll start gradually getting more and more psychic power in addition to many of the toys the Monk class comes with. And let's face it, the idea of using meditation to tap into the hidden powers of the mind is pretty in-character for a monk sort.

A Tashalatora can be a little harder to optimize than a Swordsage because power choice is so important, but a few good choices can send you a long way. I recommend Grip of Iron, Psionic Lion's Charge, Inertial Armor, and Synesthete. With these four, you can do just about anything a Monk is supposed to do, but often a heck of a lot better.

Rejusu
2012-03-16, 05:37 AM
I'd consider mixing Psychic Warrior with your Monk. The Monastic training feat (Eberron Campaign Setting) allows you to freely multi-class with monk and the Tashalatora feat (Secrets of Sarlona) allows you to stack your psionic class levels with your monk levels for the purposes of determining your unarmed strike damage, flurry, AC bonuses etc.

There's also a lot of ability synergy (Wis/Str), you can build your character as a tripper (which gives the battlefield control aspect you wanted), plus you get psychic powers. Fluff wise it's also well suited to what you want as you're basically a Monk who's trained their mind to be as sharp as their body.

For more information on Psychic warriors and the build in general see:
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=162701

Edit: Drat, swordsage'd

Aeryr
2012-03-16, 05:37 AM
Note that I did not recommend an unarmed swordsage because the is already one in the party. But they make better monks than monks. If you go that route talk to your DM so he will allow you to keep your WIS to AC when unarmored (RAW they do not keep it, RAI they should).

Coidzor
2012-03-16, 05:38 AM
Tashalatora (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20070212a&page=5)more traditionally goes with Psychic Warrior (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/classes/psychicWarrior.htm) than the War Mind PrC. War mind (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/prestigeClasses/warMind.htm#chainofPersonalSuperiority) doesn't seem to offer much besides Sweeping Strike, its 5th level ability.

Something like Monk 1/Psychic Warrior (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/classes/psychicWarrior.htm) X with 1st level feat going to Monastic Training to qualify for Tashalatora which is taken as the 3rd level feat and then the build progresses from there. Ardent(Complete Psionics) is also a popular class for Tashalatora as well, as its progression is one of the most friendly to multiclassing/gishing/theurging, IIRC.

edit: You may find this Melee Debuffs Miniguide (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=235631) interesting reading.

ericgrau
2012-03-16, 05:42 AM
It's not just optimizing, monks are fairly rules heavy to play well for new players. You get special attacks which many experienced players often don't fully learn how to use as major class features and they're major buff targets requiring heavy coordination with the party's casters and knowledge of the game's spells.

A lot of the bad reputation of monks comes from new players putting wisdom as their primary stat and then using flurry of blows with unarmed strikes as their solution to everything. Since they're not, for example, armed barbarians this fails epicly. Can't hit squat with that low attack bonus and can't absorb squat with that AC & HP.

If you must continue I'd try something like this:
Ability score priority str, wis, con, dex, int, cha. Wis/con are swappable if you want. Int/cha are swappable if you want.

At low levels wield a quarterstaff as your primary source of damage. Spend the first round applying shillelagh (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/shillelagh.htm) oil (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/potionsAndOils.htm) and closing into melee. Spend your first attack on an unarmed strike to stunning fist but spend the rest on quarterstaff blows for higher damage. Get ability focus (stunning fist) from the monster manual. At mid levels get improved trip and switch to a kama instead. Flurry stun + trip each round instead. Now you're locking down multiple opponents with your many attacks and high strength, there's your battefield control. You probably want combat reflexes as your level 2 feat too (while more dex is better even at 12 dex it's handy). At higher levels enchant your kama with ki focus so you can stun using your kama instead of unarmed strikes. Consider two weapon fighting for a second kama for even more trips from the extra attacks. In that case spell storing is another nice enchantment to put on your kamas because double spell storing is sweet. Vampiric touch or empowered magic missile are a couple good spells to beg the sorcerer to put into your weapon, or any "Target:" spell he has. But the most important item to get as soon as you can afford it is boots of speed (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/wondrousItems.htm#bootsofSpeed) for the haste (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/haste.htm).

Carry lots of potions of mage armor and before entering a dungeon, since they last a full hour, always down one for the +4 AC. 50 gp is nothing and well worth it. Or better yet at higher levels beg the sorcerer for 24 hours of mage armor since he has plenty of spell slots. Potions of protection from evil are handy too in case you ever have nothing to do before a fight. Or a potion of enlarge person is better once you start tripping. None except sometimes enlarge person is worth the time during combat. At higher levels (maybe 8-10 or more) beg the sorcerer for 24 hours of greater magic weapon on your kama(s) and maybe on your unarmed strike.

Other people here will be better than me at suggesting things like prestige classes and tricks like increasing your effective size for heavy damage and a huge trip modifier.

Coidzor
2012-03-16, 05:58 AM
That reminds me, you may also want to take a look at Person Man's Guide to Melee Combos (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127026)

eggs
2012-03-16, 06:01 AM
War Mind has a few advantages (dense PP/power level advancement, the BA, Sweeping Strike), but it's a seriously late bloomer - and not one that really makes sense with a Monk (since the class is basically 2 levels long, with early-game survival issues).


One thing you could do with a straightclassed Monk is use the Wild Shape Monk variant (from Dragon 324). It trades a bunch of Monk abilities for the Druid's shapeshifting (slightly slowed). But it leaves all the relevant powers for Invisible Fist, Dark Moon Disciple and Flurry/Decisive Strike.

The end result is a perpetually-hidden kung fu panda that can turn invisible and flutter between dimensions at will.

Garwain
2012-03-16, 06:17 AM
One of the issues the monk faces is the enchantment of his weapons. Look into the kensai prestige class (CWar p49) who can enchant his natural weapons for a small xp cost.

A funny Prestige Class for monks is the Drunken Master (CWar p27). Essentialy, every drink you take reduces your wis, but increases you str/con. If you are concerned about power, don't take this class. If you want hilarious moments, just read the fluff!

prufock
2012-03-16, 07:14 AM
It's not just optimizing, monks are fairly rules heavy to play well for new players.

And yet... his other players suggested DRUID, probably the most complex class in core.

Telonius
2012-03-16, 08:26 AM
So, we have a sorcerer, a factotum, a swordsage, and a truenamer. The truenamer player is apparently a really good optimizer, so everyone's okay with her playing the supposedly terrible class.


I'm noticing a lack of Divine caster there, which is probably one of the reasons your group suggested Druid. Fortunately, you're in luck. There is a Monk-like Prestige Class that blends Monk features with Cleric, called "Sacred Fist." You can find it in Complete Divine.

A typical build looks like:
Monk2/Cleric4/Sacred Fist10/(other Cleric Prestige Class)4

If you're Human (which is recommended), take Combat Casting and Intuitive Attack (feat from Book of Exalted Deeds) at level 1 as your normal feats. For your Monk bonus feats, take Stunning Fist and Combat Reflexes. You now meet the feat prereqs.

Your Monk is now also much more "Single-Ability Dependent" (or SAD). Wisdom powers your AC, attacks (thanks to Intuitive Attack), occasionally your damage (as soon as you get the Sacred Flames ability from Sacred Fist), and most importantly your spellcasting.

You also end up (by level 20) casting as a 16th-level Cleric.

Curmudgeon
2012-03-16, 01:57 PM
One build I would suggest is Monk 10/Forsaker 10. Forsaker is a class from a book called "Masters of the Wild" and I'm sure you'll be able to find the class at least somewhere online. It gives up on magic making you more resilient to spells with the drawback of beneficial spells (like different boosts and healing) being more difficult as well.
...
In a book called "Book of exalted Deeds" There are two feats that I would recommend you take to go with the build. They are called "Sacred Vow"(which you take as a prerequisite) and "Vow of Poverty". What Vow of Poverty does is gives built-in upgrades to the same things as Forsaker, and it's one of the few feats that improve along with you.
A DM might have a problem combining Forsaker with those Exalted feats (all of which are Supernatural; i.e., magical).
Magic is evil. Magic tempts. Magic perverts. Magic corrupts. Anyone who cannot embrace these truths has no business considering the path of the forsaker.

The forsaker rebels against the magic of the fantastic world around him. ... To that end, he treads a lonely path, deliberately depriving himself of magicís benefits and destroying any magic items he finds.

valsedecoconut
2012-03-16, 03:30 PM
Well, that's a lot of replies. Let's see if I can respond to them all.


Monk isn't necessarily the best for tanking, but I always love a good monk build.

One build I would suggest is Monk 10/Forsaker 10. Forsaker is a class from a book called "Masters of the Wild" and I'm sure you'll be able to find the class at least somewhere online. It gives up on magic making you more resilient to spells with the drawback of beneficial spells (like different boosts and healing) being more difficult as well. In addition it gives you free Stat boosts, defence boosts, save boost, and the like to make up for you not being able to use magic items (Which I would recommend as well since item selection can be as difficult as spell management when your starting out)

In a book called "Book of exalted Deeds" There are two feats that I would recommend you take to go with the build. They are called "Sacred Vow"(which you take as a prerequisite) and "Vow of Poverty". What Vow of Poverty does is gives built-in upgrades to the same things as Forsaker, and it's one of the few feats that improve along with you.

As for stats, other feats, and the like I would say take a read through some of the books and try to figure some stuff out on your own. Reading through things like that will give you a better understanding of the game and you might even be able to think up a few things that'll impress even the more veteran players at your table.

Best of luck and I hope you enjoy the game!

I noticed that a lot of people here are against the Vow of Poverty and taking more than a few levels of monk. Can someone explain to me why magic items are so important (the VoP bonuses seem nice) and why the later levels of monk suck (relative, you know, to how bad the class is to begin with)?


Well, the class that most readily gives the fluff of the martial artist master and competency is the Unarmed Swordsage variant class.

Even a barbarian base has more potential for fighting power than a monk.

Quick question first though, are you married to the idea of only fighting unarmed or are you ok with weapons? How do you feel about armor?

Because if you want to do crowd or battlefield control and not be a caster, you're going to need reach weaponry and likely going to want to be tripping or making use of something that forces enemies to cease their movement in conjunction with attacks of opportunity.

Crusaders can do a fair bit of both tanking (they're actually the best "mundane" tanks in the game IIRC) and melee battlefield control.

Tome of Battle is very friendly towards multiclassing, and so switching between Crusader, Swordsage, and/or Warblade is an option as well. Or at least dipping into one or two of the others on a build that is mainly the 3rd martial adept class.

I like the idea of being generally independent of items; such that, if I were stripped and stuck in a jail cell, I would still be a fairly dangerous individual.

I think I'm okay with not tanking; it's really the crowd control aspect I want, and presumably it's easier to CC if you can also tank damage. But since there are better ways of CC, I think I may as well drop the tank option. I don't want to use swordsage, since someone else in the group already is, though. Makes it a bit weird, even if there is nothing actually wrong with it.


-You can go AoO rute in that case karmic strike / robilar's gambit are good ways of getting attacks and consider using the alternative class feature from PHB. If you go that way take into consideration the Monk of the Enabled hand (from dragon magazine compendium) that at 3rd level has a godsend ability for AoO. (Dragon Magazine Compendium normally is considered a valid source, even if Dragon Magazines are not, since it is a book).

My party tells me that the Dragon Magazine Compendium might be okay, but they don't own it, so they can't review it. Is there a copy of this stuff online?


[SPOILER]This one's a bit complicated. Using one or two levels of the Monk class, the feat "Monastic Training" from Eberron Campaign Setting, and the feat "Tashalatora" from Secrets of Sarlona, you can basically tack the majority of the Monk's relevant class features onto the Psionic class of your choice. Ardent is a common suggestion, but I'd recommend Psychic Warrior largely because they're simpler and accessible via the SRD as I just demonstrated.

A Tashalatora PsiWar hits hard, can be pretty darn tough, and can be nigh-unstoppable at Grappling. Unfortunately, they start a little slower than the Swordsage. For the first couple levels, you're basically just a Monk - and that's terrible. However, as you level up, you'll start gradually getting more and more psychic power in addition to many of the toys the Monk class comes with. And let's face it, the idea of using meditation to tap into the hidden powers of the mind is pretty in-character for a monk sort.

A Tashalatora can be a little harder to optimize than a Swordsage because power choice is so important, but a few good choices can send you a long way. I recommend Grip of Iron, Psionic Lion's Charge, Inertial Armor, and Synesthete. With these four, you can do just about anything a Monk is supposed to do, but often a heck of a lot better.

I forgot to ask my friends about Ardent, and I don't have any books on me (except, you know, the online SRD). Where can I find information online?


Ability score priority str, wis, con, dex, int, cha. Wis/con are swappable if you want. Int/cha are swappable if you want.

At low levels wield a quarterstaff as your primary source of damage. Spend the first round applying shillelagh oil and closing into melee. Spend your first attack on an unarmed strike to stunning fist but spend the rest on quarterstaff blows for higher damage. Get ability focus (stunning fist) from the monster manual. At mid levels get improved trip and switch to a kama instead. Flurry stun + trip each round instead. Now you're locking down multiple opponents with your many attacks and high strength, there's your battefield control. You probably want combat reflexes as your level 2 feat too (while more dex is better even at 12 dex it's handy). At higher levels enchant your kama with ki focus so you can stun using your kama instead of unarmed strikes. Consider two weapon fighting for a second kama for even more trips from the extra attacks. In that case spell storing is another nice enchantment to put on your kamas because double spell storing is sweet. Vampiric touch or empowered magic missile are a couple good spells to beg the sorcerer to put into your weapon, or any "Target:" spell he has. But the most important item to get as soon as you can afford it is boots of speed for the haste.

Carry lots of potions of mage armor and before entering a dungeon, since they last a full hour, always down one for the +4 AC. 50 gp is nothing and well worth it. Or better yet at higher levels beg the sorcerer for 24 hours of mage armor since he has plenty of spell slots. Potions of protection from evil are handy too in case you ever have nothing to do before a fight. Or a potion of enlarge person is better once you start tripping. None except sometimes enlarge person is worth the time during combat. At higher levels (maybe 8-10 or more) beg the sorcerer for 24 hours of greater magic weapon on your kama(s) and maybe on your unarmed strike.

Thanks for the combat tips. I don't know how our DM runs his games, but I'm told he likes to throw enemies with class levels at us. Including spellcasters. I'm worried about failing sleep checks at early levels; there's approximately a 1/2 chance that I will. What should I do?


I'm noticing a lack of Divine caster there, which is probably one of the reasons your group suggested Druid. Fortunately, you're in luck. There is a Monk-like Prestige Class that blends Monk features with Cleric, called "Sacred Fist." You can find it in Complete Divine.

A typical build looks like:
Monk2/Cleric4/Sacred Fist10/(other Cleric Prestige Class)4

If you're Human (which is recommended), take Combat Casting and Intuitive Attack (feat from Book of Exalted Deeds) at level 1 as your normal feats. For your Monk bonus feats, take Stunning Fist and Combat Reflexes. You now meet the feat prereqs.

Your Monk is now also much more "Single-Ability Dependent" (or SAD). Wisdom powers your AC, attacks (thanks to Intuitive Attack), occasionally your damage (as soon as you get the Sacred Flames ability from Sacred Fist), and most importantly your spellcasting.

You also end up (by level 20) casting as a 16th-level Cleric.

If I go cleric, what domains should I take?

Hirax
2012-03-16, 03:41 PM
As an alternative to the cleric route, you could be a sacrilegious fist.
Monk2/human paragon3/ur-priest2/sacred fist10 or monk2/fighter2/human paragon1/ur-priest2/sacred fist10
Either of those work. If you do go the divine route, be sure to pick up the feat travel devotion from Complete Champion, it will allow you to take extra moves on your turns.

Red_Dog
2012-03-16, 03:51 PM
**GODS DAMN YOU Hirax! *que dramatic pose in the rain etc. etc.* swordsaged me! ^^ Good job sir ^^**

valsedecoconut
If you would like to play Monk, consider mixing it w/ soulknife and fail at your job hysterically = P

Now that bad joke is out of the way. Consider making this ridiculous combo=>

<Fist of Atheism>
Monk 2/(see below)3/Ur-Priest 1/Sacred Fist 10/any as wrap up, more BAB is preferable or just take few in the Ur-priest as Sacred Fist doesn't give full casting progression (not sure how will spells fit here)

Basically Monk 2 will give you the feats needed and he has SOME skills on his list to get into Ur-Priest. Than you pick your poison with the skill list you desire. By this time you have saves to get into Ur-Priest so there is no need for a fort/will class. Feats that Ur-Priest needs have no pre-reqs (you can have spell focus without being able to cast spells btw ^^)

This build will illustrate a very angry young man/woman who was VERY angry at the gods that made Monk such a terrible class = ]

Good luck regardless! ^^

Hiro Protagonest
2012-03-16, 04:04 PM
I noticed that a lot of people here are against the Vow of Poverty and taking more than a few levels of monk. Can someone explain to me why magic items are so important (the VoP bonuses seem nice)
It sucks because
A) No weapon bonuses. Sure, it's more expensive for monk to get them, but just grab a Necklace of Natural Attacks from Magic Item Compendium and you're set.
B) The bonuses are all just that. Bonuses. You don't get flight (virtually mandatory past level 7, and a good asset from level 5, where you start to face flying guys, especially for those without good ranged attacks, which is pretty much every non-caster except the most optimized of dedicated archers), you don't get energy resistance (or maybe you do, I don't know, I don't have BoED, but from what I hear, you get sustenance, AC bonuses, and saving throw bonuses), and Sustenance is worth 550 gp (everfull mug and everlasting rations). Overall, you have way below WBL.

I like the idea of being generally independent of items; such that, if I were stripped and stuck in a jail cell, I would still be a fairly dangerous individual.
Fairly dangerous. Sure. To level 1 warriors. When you're in the mid-levels and high-levels, you can expect to be facing well-equipped level 10 fighters. Unless you're also in a magic dead zone (AMF doesn't even begin to count as a threat to your power), a spellcaster with Eschew Materials is way better than you at being reliant on only personal power. Heck, a rogue/barbarian with Superior Unarmed Strike would be better at breaking out and beating up the guards.

I think I'm okay with not tanking; it's really the crowd control aspect I want, and presumably it's easier to CC if you can also tank damage. But since there are better ways of CC, I think I may as well drop the tank option. I don't want to use swordsage, since someone else in the group already is, though. Makes it a bit weird, even if there is nothing actually wrong with it.
Warblade or barbarian (Whirling Frenzy and Wolf Totem variants from the online SRD/Unearthed Arcana, and Spirit Lion Totem variant from Complete Champion, are recommended) with Superior Unarmed Strike (Tome of Battle) would both be good.

Monk dips for one or two levels (in this case, you want to go warblade unless your group ignores the alignment restrictions) gives you Improved Unarmed Strike for free (although if you get Superior Unarmed Strike, it won't progress over the levels and will basically be a second Improved Natural Attack that doesn't stack with the Monk Belt) and a +3 bonus on all saving throws. Wisdom to AC is a minor benefit, so you don't have to invest points in wisdom. In fact, I suggest you take Endurance to qualify for Steadfast Determination (PHBII), so you can get con to will saves in place of wis.

MammonAzrael
2012-03-16, 04:08 PM
You've already got a lot of build advice, but a lot of it seems to be on your future build (which is fair). For the early levels, ericgrau has good suggestions.

Ask the other players how they feel about homebrew. These boards have a very active homebrew forum, with some excellent designers, and more than one has taken a swing at the Monk. jiriku made an excellent monk fix (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=150122), and I worked up a monk/soul knife hybrid (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=199227) that might appeal to your desire to be self-reliant.

Regarding Vow of Poverty - trawling the archives will find multiple threads on the subject, but simply put the bonuses offered are not equivalent to expected Wealth By Level, and omit some extremely important effects. For example, how do you expect to deal with enemies that fly? You have no access to magic or magic items that grant flight, so the enemy can just remain out of range and ignore you. Armor Class quickly becomes irrelevant unless you optimize it, and miss chances are generally regarded to be a stronger defense. Miss chances that VoP does not offer you.

Regarding Cleric Domains - Depends on flavor, really. There are multiple Domains that are prime choices for Optimization, but those often need a focused reason and build. As a Cleric you'll be strong enough out of the box and with help from the other players, so just pick whichever domains seem to fit your idea. This (http://home.comcast.net/~ftm3/ASMoNM/domains.html) is a great list of cleric domains to scan.

prufock
2012-03-16, 04:09 PM
A typical build looks like:
Monk2/Cleric4/Sacred Fist10/(other Cleric Prestige Class)4

If you're Human (which is recommended), take Combat Casting and Intuitive Attack (feat from Book of Exalted Deeds) at level 1 as your normal feats. For your Monk bonus feats, take Stunning Fist and Combat Reflexes. You now meet the feat prereqs.

Your Monk is now also much more "Single-Ability Dependent" (or SAD). Wisdom powers your AC, attacks (thanks to Intuitive Attack), occasionally your damage (as soon as you get the Sacred Flames ability from Sacred Fist), and most importantly your spellcasting.

You also end up (by level 20) casting as a 16th-level Cleric.

I would second this sort of build, however it's even better. The general rule is "text trumps table." The text for Sacred Fist says you get +1 spellcasting each level, even though the table skips 2 levels. So you'd actually end up casting as an 18th level cleric, with lots of the monk goodies.

Also note that Intuitive Attack is an Exalted feat, so make sure that will work with your group.

EDIT: As for domains, I'd recommend Travel and Luck/Celerity (I'm a fan of Fharlanghn). Also grabbing Travel Devotion (feat, Complete Divine, I believe) would be a good idea, it lets you move as a swift action for 1 minute by burning a Turn Undead use. This lets you move and full attack, which can include a Flurry of Blows. Snap Kick (feat, Sandstorm) gives you an extra attack every time you attack. That's a good thing.

The Strength domain is a decent option at low levels for Enlarge Person, but it loses lustre as you progress through. Once you get Righteous Might, Enlarge Person really doesn't matter any more.

Feralventas
2012-03-16, 05:45 PM
Since your group suggested druid, there's an alternate version of the druid that sacrifices their shape-shifting abilities in favor of getting some of the Monk's class features (unarmed strikes that scale with level, wisdom to AC while not wearing armor, etc) while still getting their full 'casting capacity.

Essentially, you'd be playing a Monk that worships nature and seeks harmony with the world around them and is militantly active about maintaining that balance. If you're going to be in an urban society, I suggest you take a look at a radical view point (cities as living creatures or as environments of their own). Otherwise, it will allow you to play the spiritual martial artist and still be able to call in supernatural backup if punching things to death isn't enough.

Coidzor
2012-03-16, 06:20 PM
And yet... his other players suggested DRUID, probably the most complex class in core.

Hit the ground running to make sure he learned at least a smattering of the core system, I suppose. Also, easy to give corrective advice to if he manages to do something egregious. Animal Companion problems? Wait a day and bamph. Not picking good spells? A day after good ones are pointed out to him, he's got 'em. Wants to wildshape? Has to learn how to read statblocks and learn how to transcribe them and translate them.

Telonius
2012-03-16, 06:38 PM
I would second this sort of build, however it's even better. The general rule is "text trumps table." The text for Sacred Fist says you get +1 spellcasting each level, even though the table skips 2 levels. So you'd actually end up casting as an 18th level cleric, with lots of the monk goodies.

Also note that Intuitive Attack is an Exalted feat, so make sure that will work with your group.

EDIT: As for domains, I'd recommend Travel and Luck/Celerity (I'm a fan of Fharlanghn). Also grabbing Travel Devotion (feat, Complete Divine, I believe) would be a good idea, it lets you move as a swift action for 1 minute by burning a Turn Undead use. This lets you move and full attack, which can include a Flurry of Blows. Snap Kick (feat, Sandstorm) gives you an extra attack every time you attack. That's a good thing.

The Strength domain is a decent option at low levels for Enlarge Person, but it loses lustre as you progress through. Once you get Righteous Might, Enlarge Person really doesn't matter any more.

Those are pretty good suggestions as far as the mechanics go, but it really depends on the setting you're in and how hardnosed the DM is going to be about selecting them. Are you in Faerun, or Eberron, or standard Greyhawk deities, or using a homebrewed pantheon ... ? Does he allow "Clerics of a cause," or is he comfortable with cherry-picking domains?


Thanks for the combat tips. I don't know how our DM runs his games, but I'm told he likes to throw enemies with class levels at us. Including spellcasters. I'm worried about failing sleep checks at early levels; there's approximately a 1/2 chance that I will. What should I do?

If you're *really* concerned about that particular tactic, be an Elf. They're immune to Sleep effects. It shouldn't be that much of a problem, though.

Particle_Man
2012-03-16, 06:51 PM
There is a Crusader class in the same book as the Swordsage (Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords). They are pretty good tanks, and as long as you have some cards with you (5 will do) to simulate a random effect that the class has, you can have fun with it.

Soranar
2012-03-16, 06:51 PM
Unarmed fighting has, arguably, 4 types of build.

The first is the Unarmed Swordsage mentioned above.

Pros:
-simple to level (basically just keep taking levels in swordsage)
-plenty of skillpoints
-fairly flexible (about tier 3, has a lot of tricks for many situations)

Cons
-Only tier 3, this character will have limits but he should fit in pretty well with your group

The second is the monk/cleric (or druid)/sacred fist

Pros
-quite powerful (about tier 1 or 2, depending how you play him and build him)
-gives your party a healer

Cons
-harder to level (2 base classes + a prestige class), you need to make a lot more decisions in your build (which domain to pick, etc)
-harder to use, spells mean more preparation and forethought to your actions
-little skillpoints
-could overshadow your whole group, handling encounters by himself


The third is a monk/psionic class+ tashalatora (usually paired with Psychic warrior). Again, this was mentioned before.

Pros
-Simple to level (monk 1 or 2, psychic warrior x)
-can be overwhelming in combat (though he doesn't have the versatility of a cleric, he can totally dominate fights)

Cons

-Limited Power points
-Limited uses outside combat

Finally, my personal favorite

The Monk/Wildshape Ranger (found in unearthed arcana, SRD online) + ascetic stalker feat

Pros

-lots of skillpoints
-wildshape gives you versatility (not tier 2 but high tier 3)
-ranger spells are not terrible
-Full BAB, no need for forethought (your strategy is basically morph then fight)

Cons

-not as powerful/versatile as a sacred fist build
-not as dominant in combat as a tashalatora build

Coidzor
2012-03-16, 07:12 PM
X into Fist of the Forest can also be fairly handy at unarmed combat, if I recall my beardfists correctly.

Soranar
2012-03-16, 07:52 PM
The fist of the forest build is monk/like in nature but the bearfist build has no monk levels, if I remember right (barbarian+fist of the forest+bear warrior+ something else and the Con to AC class that's dwarf only).

I forgot to mention something important (especially in a 28 pts build)

Wildshape characters (druid and ranger) don't need to rely on their physical STATS (outside Con) since they fight in another form. Obviously that gives them a definite advantage in character creation (letting them concentrate on Wisdom).

Fist of the forest is a decent dip but it requires a lot of feats you might not wish to take. It also has significant roleplay restrictions (living outside like a bum).

Coidzor
2012-03-16, 08:13 PM
The fist of the forest build is monk/like in nature but the bearfist build has no monk levels, if I remember right (barbarian+fist of the forest+bear warrior+ something else and the Con to AC class that's dwarf only).

Yeah, but he's already said he isn't married to monk levels specifically. Just the concept.


Wildshape characters (druid and ranger) don't need to rely on their physical STATS (outside Con) since they fight in another form. Obviously that gives them a definite advantage in character creation (letting them concentrate on Wisdom).

Indeed, and if kung-fu panda isn't to your liking, then the class Master of Many Forms for a few levels can let you become a fair number of giants and monstrous humanoids or even aberrations/fey. Even Flind variant hyenas though are pretty nifty. I believe something like Wildshaping Monk 6/MOMF 3 would get you most of what you wanted. Staggered dipping into Warblade and/or crusader would also help.


Fist of the forest is a decent dip but it requires a lot of feats you might not wish to take. It also has significant roleplay restrictions (living outside like a bum).

That is the main downside, yeah. :/

PowerGamer
2012-03-17, 07:29 AM
I've played about 5 monks before. It's fun to goof off with. Standard Prestige classes for a Monk are Tatooed Monk and Drunken Master (I think both are in Complete Warrior) Find a race that give you a good Dex modifier to increase your armor class (githzarai)(expanded psionics handbok). Um... Even though you can't wear armor you can wear bracers, so look into those for magic items/boost to Amor Class. At low levels use a weapon and once your fists do more damage use them but keep a quarterstaff on you at all times. Don't want to punch that which hurts you upon contact.

Um... Noticed this morning that a Monk/Dragonfire Adept(Dragon Magic) would seem like a fun build. DFA gives you some "magic" and multiple breathweapons (breathe fire etc.) and is sort of like a dragonic monk. As much as you want to be LG, the best way to run a DFA is and evil so go LE if you are planing to take DFA to level 20 (breathe of Taimat). If you aren't taking DFA to level 20 go with what ever form of Lawful you want.

Snowbluff
2012-03-17, 07:44 AM
Unarmed Swordsage
Hailing from "Tome of Battle: the Book of Nine Swords", the Swordsage is a martial artist extraordinaire. Using the "unarmed" option from the Variant section of the class write-up, they can become a potent Monk. This variant is not strictly necessary, and isn't really any more powerful than a base Swordsage using, say, a Quarterstaff - but if you want punches to hurt and didn't plan on wearing armor anyway, then it's probably a good idea.

The class has a lot of options. Swordsages gain "maneuvers" from a wide range of schools. I've seen Orc Swordsages who use Tiger Claw for ferocious jumping attacks, Human Swordsages who use Setting Sun for tactical control and manipulating enemies, and Halfling Swordsages who use Shadow Hand to be nigh-unparalleled ninjas and assassins. And since you can pick from multiple schools, there should always be a way to get what you're going for. Unfortunately, the best schools for tanking aren't open to you, but in exchange you'll have speed and mobility on your side - you've got the most options to actually intercept enemies on their way to allies, which is usually the hardest part about tanking in D&D.

As to ease of play, the maneuver system from Tome of Battle is somewhat complicated, but very hard to screw up. Almost any Swordsage will be a viable member of an average party.

Tashalatora
This one's a bit complicated. Using one or two levels of the Monk class, the feat "Monastic Training" from Eberron Campaign Setting, and the feat "Tashalatora" from Secrets of Sarlona, you can basically tack the majority of the Monk's relevant class features onto the Psionic class of your choice. Ardent is a common suggestion, but I'd recommend Psychic Warrior (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/classes/psychicWarrior.htm) largely because they're simpler and accessible via the SRD as I just demonstrated.

A Tashalatora PsiWar hits hard, can be pretty darn tough, and can be nigh-unstoppable at Grappling. Unfortunately, they start a little slower than the Swordsage. For the first couple levels, you're basically just a Monk - and that's terrible. However, as you level up, you'll start gradually getting more and more psychic power in addition to many of the toys the Monk class comes with. And let's face it, the idea of using meditation to tap into the hidden powers of the mind is pretty in-character for a monk sort.

A Tashalatora can be a little harder to optimize than a Swordsage because power choice is so important, but a few good choices can send you a long way. I recommend Grip of Iron, Psionic Lion's Charge, Inertial Armor, and Synesthete. With these four, you can do just about anything a Monk is supposed to do, but often a heck of a lot better.

US Swordsage is pretty sweet.

As for Tashalatora, don't take any Monk Levels, and you can't take it at first level anyway. The loss to BaB progression is painful, since delaying your iterative attacks is bad enough by just playing 3/4 BaB.

Depending on how you want to learn Metamorphosis, either take it with you Second Level Bonus Feat, or if you dropped it for Mantles, get it at 3.

As a side note, Expansion is your friend.

marcielle
2012-03-17, 08:33 AM
IMPORTANT: With the unarmed swordsage, you get funky kungfu moves. You know the deal. Jackie Chan style with fancy names and martial arts schools. With actual monk, it goes like this. I charge. I flurry. I flurry again. I flurry again again. And that's in a best case scenario.

For physical cc, may I draw your attention to Jotunbrud (http://dndtools.eu/feats/races-of-faerun--23/jotunbrud--1702/). This will be invaluable to your efforts, especially if your DM lets it stack with other size increasers.

Since you are facing things with class levels, as opposed to things with dozens of feet/pseudopodae, this route should be more effective than usual.

D@rK-SePHiRoTH-
2012-03-17, 08:34 AM
Tashalatora is pretty sweet if used with the War Mind PrC :smallsmile:

You want Battlefield Control and extreme tanking?
Try this:

Monk 2 (UA variant passive way + PHB2 variant decisive strike)
Psychic Warrior 2
Fighter 2
War Mind 10 (+ tashalatora)
Crusader 3
Exotic Weapon Master 1

Fight with a spiked chain + unarmed strike (as an off-hand weapon)
Holding a weapon in your hands does not prevent you from using at best your monk abilities.

Expansion (psionic power) to become as big as you can and threaten an enormous area and deal insane damage with your unarmed strikes

Use Decisive Strike + Snap Kick (ToB feat) to make 3 attacks that deal double damage and keep dealing double damage until your next turn + sweeping strike (from war mind) to affect multiple targets

Snap Kick to double AoOs (damage is still doubled by Decisive Strike)

Thicket of Blades (ToB stance) so nothing can escape your fury

Stand Still to control opponents

Knock-Down and/or Improved Trip feat for a very effective lockdown effect

Stunning Fist for extra control (you can use it through your spiked chain with ExoticWeaponMaster and affect multiple targets with sweeping strike)

Robilar's Gambit to counter every attack you recieve


If you are allowed to, play a Goliath, a Githzerai or an Half-Dragon, their stat bonuses are invaluable.

If you want to go Super Saiyan... add in "battle jump" and the tiger claw maneuver "sudden leap".
So you can use Decisive Strike (3 double damage hits, that can affect multiple target) then jump as a swift action, charge and deal 2 more hits, each dealing 3x damage. On top of that, you still have the AoOs

It is not an easy build. Take your time to understand exactly what it does, it's worth the time.

Morph Bark
2012-03-17, 09:19 AM
I'm currently playing a Dragonborn Arctic Goliath with the following build:

Chaos Monk of the Overpowering Way 2 /Lion Totem Goliath Barbarian 1 /Dungeoncrasher Fighter 2/Warblade 1/Fist of the Forest 1 /Champion of Gwynharwyf 3.

Feats: Flying Kick, Great Fortitude, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Unarmed Strike, Knight of the Stars, Knockback, Power Attack, Righteous Wrath, Shock Trooper, Touch of Golden Ice.

And she's oh so goddarn much fun. :smallbiggrin: At this point though, I'm kind of wishing I hadn't put in CoG and the Exalted feats so I could've put in Psychic Warrior for expansion.

Thespianus
2012-03-17, 09:22 AM
X into Fist of the Forest can also be fairly handy at unarmed combat, if I recall my beardfists correctly.

Monk 1/Druid (Druid ACF from UA, gives up WildShape for monk features) 5/Fist of the Forest 1/Druix X gives Wis to AC twice and Con to AC while unarmored. Also gets you a 1D8 unarmed damage and at Druid 5, you get Bite of the Werewolf (SpC) that just lifts your (and your Animal Companion's) AC and attributes into the sky.

Ofcourse, the Beardfist way is more complex, but with only 2 non-Druid levels in the above build, you get some pretty decent features for unarmed/unarmored combat.

Giving up Wildshape is, ofcourse, crazy, but might be easier for a new player.

Curmudgeon
2012-03-17, 10:10 AM
Monk 1/Druid (Druid ACF from UA, gives up WildShape for monk features) 5/Fist of the Forest 1/Druix X gives Wis to AC twice and Con to AC while unarmored.
Those AC bonuses are all from the same source (the class feature named AC Bonus) and don't stack.
Stacking

In most cases, modifiers to a given check or roll stack (combine for a cumulative effect) if they come from different sources and have different types (or no type at all), but do not stack if they have the same type or come from the same source (such as the same spell cast twice in succession). If the modifiers to a particular roll do not stack, only the best bonus and worst penalty applies.

D@rK-SePHiRoTH-
2012-03-17, 10:17 AM
Those AC bonuses are all from the same source (the class feature named AC Bonus) and don't stack.
FoF stacks with monk. Sources have the same name, but are different

sonofzeal
2012-03-17, 10:23 AM
Those AC bonuses are all from the same source (the class feature named AC Bonus) and don't stack.
We've talked about this before, I think. There's nothing in the rule text that suggests the name is what's important.

Hiro Protagonest
2012-03-17, 10:32 AM
As for Tashalatora, don't take any Monk Levels, and you can't take it at first level anyway. The loss to BaB progression is painful, since delaying your iterative attacks is bad enough by just playing 3/4 BaB.

Aaand this is where Snowbluff and I diverge. He thinks the designers intended for people to be able to play Psychic Warriors with monk class features as long as they were raised in a monastery (Monastic Training is just a metagame name :smallannoyed:). I think they intended for it to be an extension of Monastic Training that made the monk more compatible with classes that had similar fluff.

Rejusu
2012-03-17, 10:44 AM
US Swordsage is pretty sweet.

As for Tashalatora, don't take any Monk Levels, and you can't take it at first level anyway. The loss to BaB progression is painful, since delaying your iterative attacks is bad enough by just playing 3/4 BaB.

Depending on how you want to learn Metamorphosis, either take it with you Second Level Bonus Feat, or if you dropped it for Mantles, get it at 3.

As a side note, Expansion is your friend.

Few DM's will let you get away with not taking any monk levels for it, even if it's technically legal by RAW. As for the BAB progression you can just ask your DM to allow fractional BAB, that way you don't lose anything in that regard as both Monk and PsyWarr are 3/4. Not to mention that both monks and PsyWarr have ways of getting additional attacks without having a high enough BAB for iterative attacks so it's not as big an issue as you make it out to be.

As for metamorphosis it's nearly always better to drop your second bonus feat for the Mantled Warrior ACF. If you don't do it you basically forsake access to mantles entirely as the feat that gives you mantles require you already have a mantle as a prerequisite. Plus you're effectively getting two feats for the price of one (Tap Mantle and Don Mantle).

It's kind of moot though because you can't use the Psychic Warrior bonus feat to get Tashalatora anyway as it's neither a fighter bonus feat nor a [Psionic] feat. Also expansion is only your friend if you don't plan on using combat reflexes. That -2 Dex penalty per size category hurts.

Curmudgeon
2012-03-17, 11:18 AM
We've talked about this before, I think. There's nothing in the rule text that suggests the name is what's important. I beg to differ. This quote from page 180 of Dungeon Master's Guide does more than "suggest" what "source" means for stacking:

Sneak Attack

This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 every other level (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th). If an assassin gets a sneak attack bonus from another source (such as rogue levels) the bonuses on damage stack. (There are similar rules examples on pages 178 & 182.) Sneak Attack is a named class ability which provides an untyped bonus to damage. Because that's the same source (same name), Rogue Sneak Attack and Assassin Sneak Attack don't stack without the above highlighted exception.

Can you provide an alternative RAW quote which establishes that "source" means something other than the name, for the basic stacking rule?
In most cases, modifiers to a given check or roll stack (combine for a cumulative effect) if they come from different sources and have different types (or no type at all), but do not stack if they have the same type or come from the same source (such as the same spell cast twice in succession).

D@rK-SePHiRoTH-
2012-03-17, 11:22 AM
Excuse me.

If the burger king customer obtains an hamburger from another source (such as mcdonalds) the bonuses on fat stack

Source = place that provides food = class levels (such as assassin levels, rogue levels)
Name = type of food = sneak attack

source =/= name
rogue levels =/= sneak attack

Thespianus
2012-03-17, 11:28 AM
Those AC bonuses are all from the same source (the class feature named AC Bonus) and don't stack.

I can agree that the two Wis bonuses to AC won't stack (eventhough I believe DM would prefer that over a Wildshaping druid) but the Wis to AC and the Con to AC from FotF must reasonably stack.

I see your point about the name being the same, but when the ability is different (con vs wis to AC), the stacking seems obviously RAW. The Bonus to AC has Wisdom as its source in one case, and Constitution as its source in the other case.

Edit: If we are really talking details, your quote says that "In most cases, modifiers to a given check or roll" , and a bonus to Armor Class is not a modifier to a check or roll. It's a modifier to a static value, and hence your quote wouldnt apply with regard to AC.

However, I'm not interpreting RAW that hard and neither should you.

Do you rule this way when it comes to Fast Movement too? Both a Monk and a Barbarian gains Fast Movement as class features, but you would only allow the speed increase to apply once?

Douglas
2012-03-17, 02:07 PM
I noticed that a lot of people here are against the Vow of Poverty and taking more than a few levels of monk. Can someone explain to me why magic items are so important (the VoP bonuses seem nice) and why the later levels of monk suck (relative, you know, to how bad the class is to begin with)?
The Vow of Poverty bonuses seem nice, but only because it's such a huge list conveniently assembled for you already. If you open the DMG to page 135 to check how much money the game designers expect you to have in equipment value at each level, and then do some reasonably intelligent magic item shopping and list the results, you will find that the standard expected amount of magic items will get you even more than Vow of Poverty by a substantial margin plus a lot more flexibility in choice of what you get.

By far the most common reason anyone thinks Vow of Poverty is good is that he doesn't realize just how mind-bogglingly huge the array of bonuses from the standard amount of magic items really is.

****************
Back to the subject of builds:
Your party recommended Druid. You want a mystical martial artist who has significant crowd control. Therefore, I bring you The Best of Both Worlds:
Druid (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/druid.htm)
Unarmored/non-shapechanging variant (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#druid)
Druidic Avenger variant (trade animal companion for barbarian rage) (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#druidVariantDruidicAve nger)
Whirling Frenzy rage variant (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/classFeatureVariants.htm#rageVariantWhirlingFrenzy )

Voila. You are a highly spiritual man so perceptive that armor would just get in the way of your dodging, so enlightened the forces of nature naturally obey you, and able to enter a state of meditative focus that stretches your muscles and reflexes beyond their normal limits.

Unfortunately none of these variants get you Improved Unarmed Strike for free, but if using your bare fists is really that important to you you can just spend a feat on it. I'd recommend using a quarterstaff instead, though.

Coidzor
2012-03-17, 02:17 PM
As for Tashalatora, don't take any Monk Levels, and you can't take it at first level anyway. The loss to BaB progression is painful, since delaying your iterative attacks is bad enough by just playing 3/4 BaB.

Yeah, you pretty much need fractional BAB anyway if you're going near the monk concept, generally anyway.

valsedecoconut
2012-03-19, 05:55 AM
Thanks for all the help with monk builds! I don't have time to reply to every single post right now, but here's some campaign info.

It takes place in the Planescape setting, except with the slight modification that every other campaign setting exists as a material plane, every pantheon has their own outer planes carved out, etc. So every published setting rolled into Planescape. That's how it was described anyways, I'm not sure I quite follow.

We all start in a mountaintop temple in some material plane beginning with the letters Eb. We're on a pilgrimage to the Traveler god guy for character, RP reasons.

Our DM apparently tells his players about the first encounter in all of his games, so that he can challenge us right off the bat yet be fairly certain that we won't all die at the very beginning.

We're going to be in a large indoors area with large columns and a lot of shadows. One level 3 bard, one level 2 rogue, and three level one commoners will be fighting against us; they're of unknown alignment, and seek to defile/destroy the temple and kill the cleric and pilgrims inside.

My party wants to save them, but the cleric (level 6) is badly wounded, while the pilgrims are all essentially civilians (some injured, some dead). The cleric is busy preparing healing spells to help the pilgrims, and he doesn't have enough energy or health to help us fight.

That's the gist of it, anyways. Our party supposedly walks in halfway through the carnage through various entrances; we're technically not grouped yet.

This is like our game's prologue or something.

Telonius
2012-03-19, 08:41 AM
We all start in a mountaintop temple in some material plane beginning with the letters Eb. We're on a pilgrimage to the Traveler god guy for character, RP reasons.


That's almost certainly Eberron (a published campaign setting). The Traveler is a deity there. If you're still thinking about Sacred Fist, Travel and Trickery are among his domains. They're two extremely good domains that give Clerics really good spells that wouldn't ordinarily be on their spell lists at all. (Nondetection, Dimension Door, Longstrider, Fly, Disguise Self, Greater Teleport, Polymorph Any Object, Time Stop).

Snowbluff
2012-03-19, 09:33 AM
Yeah, you pretty much need fractional BAB anyway if you're going near the monk concept, generally anyway.

Yeah, but FoB is a great boon for not having a good BaB. Splash some Sanctified Mind 6 (Otyugh Hole for the Feat Tax) and you can Make 16 BaB at 20.


Aaand this is where Snowbluff and I diverge. He thinks the designers intended for people to be able to play Psychic Warriors with monk class features as long as they were raised in a monastery (Monastic Training is just a metagame name :smallannoyed:). I think they intended for it to be an extension of Monastic Training that made the monk more compatible with classes that had similar fluff.

Oh it does make other classes compatible, kind of like the nifty Ascetic Feats, but I think it was I that concluded that RAMS was "Rules this way cuz I don't like the fluff" and Flickerdart that concluded that Munkinson's Disease is a really big issue. :P

Alienist
2012-03-19, 11:32 AM
I'd like to add my 2c to the Sacred Fist combos out there.

Note that text trumps tables, so the Sacred Fist is a full BAB and a full caster progression prestige class... mmm... crunchy.

There is a small technical problem however, Sacred Fists cannot use weapons...

... and if you're a Monk your fists count as weapons. So the first time you punch someone you lose your class features. Oops! This is retarded like the Ur Priest, and your DM will probably ignore it. (But it might be worth pointing out to him if he wants a laugh - also, the question of whether your fists are weapons is going to be raised, it's good to get that out in the open earlier rather than later)

And this small point is actually really important for the build that follows. Because what you will do, my friend, if you choose this path, is you will make the Unarmed Swordsage weep with jealousy, because when you belt someone with your fist with this build, you will need to get out "ye-olde-bucket-of-dice".

The trick is that if you're a Monk touch spells can be delivered with a punch to the face. And so once you get some touch spells it becomes a Punch To The Face and then later when you pile on the feats and put on your big boy buffing pants and pimp slap someone it will be a PUNCH TO THE FACE. Booyah.

Build:
Monk 2/Cleric 4/Prestige Paladin 3/Sacred Fist 10/Season to Taste 1

Comments

Monk: 2
Pound for pound these are the best non-caster levels in the whole gosh darn game.
Monk level 2 is just amazing: +1 BAB, +1 feat, an incredible class feature (evasion) and +1 to all saves? If I could just take one level, over and over again, it'd be that one.
Monk level 1 is not horrible, yes we don't get the +1 BAB, but we do get two feats and a big chunk of saves.

This is how good two levels of Monk is: Sacred Fist has four feats as pre-requisites. As a Monk we pick up three of the four by level 2. And if we're a human we still have 2 feats left over. Madness!!!

Cleric: 4
We're in it for the BAB mainly. Oh yeah, and the awesome touch spells. (May not contain awesome touch spells (yet))

Paladin (Prestige) : 3
3 levels of Prestige Paladin is full BAB, almost full casting, d10s for hit dice, we regain some of the nifty Monk-like powers we lost, yet another massive boost to saves, a Celestial Mount of some kind... it rocks.
Take the Ascetic Knight feat and the Paladin levels even count for Monk unarmed damage.
Caveat: you have to dump big points into ride, which is a cross class skill. It's only 8 skill points, not that big of a deal really.

Sacred Fist: 10
For the fiery fists of fisty deathy deathiness.
(May contain traces of: Fire, Force, Lightning and Necrotic damage)

Who cares: 1
You already have BAB 17, 20th level unarmed Monk damage (with the Monk's belt, which you also had custom enchanted for extra Charisma, because every +1 charisma bonus is also a +1 save bonus (thanks to being a Paladin))
You cast as a level 16 cleric, with the practiced spell caster feat you can have a caster level of 19 already... it doesn't really matter what you do here, you can't mess it up. (And probably won't make it this far anyway due to the Unarmed Swordsage player having a major hissy fit and trying to get the DM to nerf your char because of its fisty awesomeness)

Porpoise of the build:
Have fun with a Monk. Specifically do things that the Unarmed Swordsage cannot do, unless he gives up being an unarmed swordsage. Thus, we have a niche.
Win by repetitive face-punching. Kick righteous ass.
Translation: "squeak click whistle" *massive fin slap*.


The essence of a Monk is to have lots of style and cool, that is why people keep wanting to play them. The base class is a bit messed up, but we don't have to just roll over and play dead, we can go out and find some style, kill it, and wear it's dead carcass. Get creative - be the cool.

Cheese-fu

Prestige Paladin + Battle Blessing lets you cast Cleric spells as swift actions. When you cast a touch spell, you get a 'free' touch attack that goes with it (which can be made later in the round (which lets you cast at a safe distance, move in, deliver the punch and still have a standard action left over. Groovy.)). So you can cast and punch twice per round, for some massive damage.

NB: some of the nasty touch attacks persist for a number of rounds, if you cast any other spell they will go away, so cast your buffs first, then let the belting commence.

Typical boring arguments against a Monk

"Oh, but Monks typically have bad BAB". Well, we fixed that already. Not convinced? Hard nut to crack? Just deliver your touch attacks as touch attacks then, at almost full BAB (17/19).

"Oh but Monks typically have bad AC". Well, we don't need flurry of blows, we don't need the AC bonus and we don't need the speed bonus, so at level 3 (our first Cleric level) just strap on some light armour, pick up a heavy shield and go to town with your free hand, which is a fist (just in case you hadn't noticed yet).

Did I mention that for the Monk fists count as weapons? So stuff that enhances weapons (like... uh... feats and spells and stuff) can also enhance our fistiness.

(Another approach to the AC problem is to go Arcane instead of Divine, do the Kung Fu Wizard thing, take 18 Int, Kung-Fu Genius feat (lets you use Int instead of Wis for your AC bonus), and with say a 16 Dex you can have an AC of: 10 (base) +4 (bonus from Int) +3 (bonus from Dex) +4 (Mage Armor) +4 (Shield bonus from the Shield Spell) = 25 AC at level 3.

Low AC? MYTH BUSTED

Anyway, the point of the Arcane digression there is that what Wizards can cast, can be made into magic items...

Stunning Fist

This is actually pretty good at low levels. Whack the BBEG and you have a decent chance of him doing nothing till your next turn, and taking an AC penalty to boot (and to face). So this is good as an additional rider effect for when you are smacking the lay-down. It doesn't take any additional actions on it's own, the trigger is that you declare it when you make the attack roll.

Later on Unearthed Arcana has some options for turning this into other things, such as fire damage.

Anyway, the main point being that even if stunning fist kind of sucks, we can add it on top of everything else, and if we stack enough things that kind of suck we will have to pull out the bucket of dice...

Additional Toppings

Once we get some mid-level spells we can start adding on Reserve feats. Here are some that are interesting:

Holy Warrior "As long as you have a 4th-level or higher War domain spell available to cast, you gain a bonus on your weapon damage rolls equal to the level of the highest-level War spell you have available to cast. As a secondary benefit, you gain a +1 competence bonus to your caster level when casting force spells."

So that's a straight up +4 (or more) damage to our weapons rolls if we have the War domain... which is a pretty cool domain. Force spells include... Spiritual Hammer (handy at low levels).

Digression on Spiritual Hammer:
At level 5 you can cast this bad boy three times in the first three rounds of combat, for 6 attacks. Then on round 4 you and the hammers can attack, for 10 total attacks so far. Every additional round is another four attacks until their duration starts to run out. Among other things, this gives you some cool options for ranged combat. They use your BAB plus your Wisdom modifier to attack.

Minor Shapeshift:
+2 on weapon damage rolls

Sickening Grasp:
"As long as you have a necromancy spell of 3rd level or higher available to cast, any living creature you hit with a melee touch attack becomes sickened for a number of rounds equal to the level of the highest-level necromancy spell you have available to cast."

Sweeeeeeet

"oh, you took a penalty of -2 to just about everything except AC? Really? Does that include saving throws? Why yes I believe it does. Here, why don't you have a Stunning Fist IN YOUR FACE"

Touch Spell Specialization:
+2 to damage from touch spells
Caveat: requires weapon focus... which we picked up as a freebie for War Domain.... which we can apply to our fists.

Non-rider effects
These actually require an action of some sort, of course, we can combine them with a touch spell we previously cast, or we can use the other kind of action to make our touch-attack-fist-spell-thing (Once we get Pally and Battle Blessing)

(standard actions)

Clap of Thunder:
Give them the clap... for 1d6 points of damage per highest level of uncast sonic spell. So if we have a sixth level sonic spell we slap them for 6d6 + 4 +2 +2 +2d6 +whatever other modifiers we can 'slap' (sic) on there. 8d6+8 is not shabby for one punch.

NB: no spell resources were expended in the making of this example.

Mystic Backlash:
Requires a standard action for a touch attack (which we can make with our fist), and it then deals damage to them whenever they cast a spell. Cute.

Invisible Needle:
DISCLAIMER: not a fist.
It's a free ranged attack if we have high level force spells unspent. Refluff them as spirit-killing shuriken or something. Be cool, be creative, be memorable, but above all, do not be boring.

There's some other ones that add variety, such as the Reserve feat that shoots mini-fireballs. (Yes, you have permission to make the hand gesture. And shout "hadoken". If you must)

(swift actions)

Blade of Force:
Like Holy Warrior, but requires a swift action and then only works for one attack. Mega-meh.

Touch Spells that might come in handy (ha!)

Inflict Light Wounds
Inflict Moderate Wounds
Inflict Serious Wounds
Inflict Critical Wounds
(are we sensing a theme?)
...
Harm

Oooooohhhhh yyyeeeeeaaaahhhhh. The first time you get off Harm the Unarmed Swordsage is going to have some serious brown trouser time. Can you smell what the Monk is cooking? (inhales deeply then starts coughing)

The inflict spells get no love (because melee touch spells in general get no love, because who would be crazy enough too.... hey wait...), but they are a cheap way to scale up your fist damage early in the game.

Other touch cleric spells:
Parching touch (if thirst domain)
Produce Flame (if fire domain) - note: this is one of the bad boys that sticks around and we get multiple hits with it.
Darkfire
Handfang
Shivering Touch (the Dragon Killer)
Shape Metal
Dispel Evil (!!! Also grants a deflection bonus to AC. Woot!!!)
Soul Scour (hit them with the ugly and the stupid sticks at the same time!)
Chain of Chaos

Other interesting cleric spells:
Magic Weapon (make our fists magic, so we can hit incorporeal?)

Spiritual Weapon (see above)
Healing Spirit
Incarnum Weapon
Streamers (going with that whole 'hit them with weapons, but not in a way that will break my Sacred Fist vows' theme)

Touch of Madness and Rage are interesting Madness Domain spells.

Speaking of MADness, how are those stats looking?

Well, Strength we don't need if we take the intuitive-thingy feat
Intelligence is only required for skills, and once we have Guidance of the friction' Avatar they become pointless, so we don't need intelligence.
Charisma is nice (later on, once we get the Prestige Pally combo), but we don't need it up front.
Dexterity is useful for AC, but not more useful than Wisdom is for AC (when unarmored)
Constitution keeps us from getting deaded, and I hear that is good.
Wisdom of course is our primary stat.

28 point buy
Wis 16
Str 8
Int 10
Con 14
and then for Cha and Dex one at 14 the other at 12

You're not getting much for your money.

One of the nice things about adding Cleric to your Monk, is that you end up with a metric boatload of spells (the Imperial boatload is only 6% bigger btw). Let's say you have level 10 cleric casting. Okay, you have...

27 spells to cast, not including bonus spells. They don't all have to be touch spells. You're allowed to do other stuff. You have my permission.

9 touch spells, 9 buff spells and 9 utility spells (stuff like detect/dispel magic) is plenty. Note of course that you can turn random unuseful spells into healing spells on the fly as required. No problem. So we have a lot of versatility here.

Don't always memorise exactly the same touch spells. Mix it up a little, try different approaches. Remember that undead take damage from healing spells, so even if you had a bunch of inflict spells memorised you can still go to town with your touch attacks by converting the inflicts to heals.

Maybe one day you memorise a lot of hammer spells, then the next day it's mainly inflicts so you can punch the bad guys into the middle of next week, then when they arrive in the middle of next week you burn their faces off.

Gavinfoxx
2012-03-19, 12:11 PM
I know you said no Dragon Magazine, but I recently did some optimization that helps the base Monk class kick ass for a decent number of levels. Unfortunately, it needs a MASSIVE amount of Dragon Magazine support. It was more a proof of concept to show that it is possible. Look at my replies in this thread:

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=236458

Snowbluff
2012-03-19, 12:33 PM
I'm going to spoiler bracket this for your convenience .


I'd like to add my 2c to the Sacred Fist combos out there.

Note that text trumps tables, so the Sacred Fist is a full BAB and a full caster progression prestige class... mmm... crunchy.

There is a small technical problem however, Sacred Fists cannot use weapons...

... and if you're a Monk your fists count as weapons. So the first time you punch someone you lose your class features. Oops! This is retarded like the Ur Priest, and your DM will probably ignore it. (But it might be worth pointing out to him if he wants a laugh - also, the question of whether your fists are weapons is going to be raised, it's good to get that out in the open earlier rather than later)

And this small point is actually really important for the build that follows. Because what you will do, my friend, if you choose this path, is you will make the Unarmed Swordsage weep with jealousy, because when you belt someone with your fist with this build, you will need to get out "ye-olde-bucket-of-dice".

The trick is that if you're a Monk touch spells can be delivered with a punch to the face. And so once you get some touch spells it becomes a Punch To The Face and then later when you pile on the feats and put on your big boy buffing pants and pimp slap someone it will be a PUNCH TO THE FACE. Booyah.

Build:
Monk 2/Cleric 4/Prestige Paladin 3/Sacred Fist 10/Season to Taste 1

Comments

Monk: 2
Pound for pound these are the best non-caster levels in the whole gosh darn game.
Monk level 2 is just amazing: +1 BAB, +1 feat, an incredible class feature (evasion) and +1 to all saves? If I could just take one level, over and over again, it'd be that one.
Monk level 1 is not horrible, yes we don't get the +1 BAB, but we do get two feats and a big chunk of saves.

This is how good two levels of Monk is: Sacred Fist has four feats as pre-requisites. As a Monk we pick up three of the four by level 2. And if we're a human we still have 2 feats left over. Madness!!!

Cleric: 4
We're in it for the BAB mainly. Oh yeah, and the awesome touch spells. (May not contain awesome touch spells (yet))

Paladin (Prestige) : 3
3 levels of Prestige Paladin is full BAB, almost full casting, d10s for hit dice, we regain some of the nifty Monk-like powers we lost, yet another massive boost to saves, a Celestial Mount of some kind... it rocks.
Take the Ascetic Knight feat and the Paladin levels even count for Monk unarmed damage.
Caveat: you have to dump big points into ride, which is a cross class skill. It's only 8 skill points, not that big of a deal really.

Sacred Fist: 10
For the fiery fists of fisty deathy deathiness.
(May contain traces of: Fire, Force, Lightning and Necrotic damage)

Who cares: 1
You already have BAB 17, 20th level unarmed Monk damage (with the Monk's belt, which you also had custom enchanted for extra Charisma, because every +1 charisma bonus is also a +1 save bonus (thanks to being a Paladin))
You cast as a level 16 cleric, with the practiced spell caster feat you can have a caster level of 19 already... it doesn't really matter what you do here, you can't mess it up. (And probably won't make it this far anyway due to the Unarmed Swordsage player having a major hissy fit and trying to get the DM to nerf your char because of its fisty awesomeness)

Porpoise of the build:
Have fun with a Monk. Specifically do things that the Unarmed Swordsage cannot do, unless he gives up being an unarmed swordsage. Thus, we have a niche.
Win by repetitive face-punching. Kick righteous ass.
Translation: "squeak click whistle" *massive fin slap*.


The essence of a Monk is to have lots of style and cool, that is why people keep wanting to play them. The base class is a bit messed up, but we don't have to just roll over and play dead, we can go out and find some style, kill it, and wear it's dead carcass. Get creative - be the cool.

Cheese-fu

Prestige Paladin + Battle Blessing lets you cast Cleric spells as swift actions. When you cast a touch spell, you get a 'free' touch attack that goes with it (which can be made later in the round (which lets you cast at a safe distance, move in, deliver the punch and still have a standard action left over. Groovy.)). So you can cast and punch twice per round, for some massive damage.

NB: some of the nasty touch attacks persist for a number of rounds, if you cast any other spell they will go away, so cast your buffs first, then let the belting commence.

Typical boring arguments against a Monk

"Oh, but Monks typically have bad BAB". Well, we fixed that already. Not convinced? Hard nut to crack? Just deliver your touch attacks as touch attacks then, at almost full BAB (17/19).

"Oh but Monks typically have bad AC". Well, we don't need flurry of blows, we don't need the AC bonus and we don't need the speed bonus, so at level 3 (our first Cleric level) just strap on some light armour, pick up a heavy shield and go to town with your free hand, which is a fist (just in case you hadn't noticed yet).

Did I mention that for the Monk fists count as weapons? So stuff that enhances weapons (like... uh... feats and spells and stuff) can also enhance our fistiness.

(Another approach to the AC problem is to go Arcane instead of Divine, do the Kung Fu Wizard thing, take 18 Int, Kung-Fu Genius feat (lets you use Int instead of Wis for your AC bonus), and with say a 16 Dex you can have an AC of: 10 (base) +4 (bonus from Int) +3 (bonus from Dex) +4 (Mage Armor) +4 (Shield bonus from the Shield Spell) = 25 AC at level 3.

Low AC? MYTH BUSTED

Anyway, the point of the Arcane digression there is that what Wizards can cast, can be made into magic items...

Stunning Fist

This is actually pretty good at low levels. Whack the BBEG and you have a decent chance of him doing nothing till your next turn, and taking an AC penalty to boot (and to face). So this is good as an additional rider effect for when you are smacking the lay-down. It doesn't take any additional actions on it's own, the trigger is that you declare it when you make the attack roll.

Later on Unearthed Arcana has some options for turning this into other things, such as fire damage.

Anyway, the main point being that even if stunning fist kind of sucks, we can add it on top of everything else, and if we stack enough things that kind of suck we will have to pull out the bucket of dice...

Additional Toppings

Once we get some mid-level spells we can start adding on Reserve feats. Here are some that are interesting:

Holy Warrior "As long as you have a 4th-level or higher War domain spell available to cast, you gain a bonus on your weapon damage rolls equal to the level of the highest-level War spell you have available to cast. As a secondary benefit, you gain a +1 competence bonus to your caster level when casting force spells."

So that's a straight up +4 (or more) damage to our weapons rolls if we have the War domain... which is a pretty cool domain. Force spells include... Spiritual Hammer (handy at low levels).

Digression on Spiritual Hammer:
At level 5 you can cast this bad boy three times in the first three rounds of combat, for 6 attacks. Then on round 4 you and the hammers can attack, for 10 total attacks so far. Every additional round is another four attacks until their duration starts to run out. Among other things, this gives you some cool options for ranged combat. They use your BAB plus your Wisdom modifier to attack.

Minor Shapeshift:
+2 on weapon damage rolls

Sickening Grasp:
"As long as you have a necromancy spell of 3rd level or higher available to cast, any living creature you hit with a melee touch attack becomes sickened for a number of rounds equal to the level of the highest-level necromancy spell you have available to cast."

Sweeeeeeet

"oh, you took a penalty of -2 to just about everything except AC? Really? Does that include saving throws? Why yes I believe it does. Here, why don't you have a Stunning Fist IN YOUR FACE"

Touch Spell Specialization:
+2 to damage from touch spells
Caveat: requires weapon focus... which we picked up as a freebie for War Domain.... which we can apply to our fists.

Non-rider effects
These actually require an action of some sort, of course, we can combine them with a touch spell we previously cast, or we can use the other kind of action to make our touch-attack-fist-spell-thing (Once we get Pally and Battle Blessing)

(standard actions)

Clap of Thunder:
Give them the clap... for 1d6 points of damage per highest level of uncast sonic spell. So if we have a sixth level sonic spell we slap them for 6d6 + 4 +2 +2 +2d6 +whatever other modifiers we can 'slap' (sic) on there. 8d6+8 is not shabby for one punch.

NB: no spell resources were expended in the making of this example.

Mystic Backlash:
Requires a standard action for a touch attack (which we can make with our fist), and it then deals damage to them whenever they cast a spell. Cute.

Invisible Needle:
DISCLAIMER: not a fist.
It's a free ranged attack if we have high level force spells unspent. Refluff them as spirit-killing shuriken or something. Be cool, be creative, be memorable, but above all, do not be boring.

There's some other ones that add variety, such as the Reserve feat that shoots mini-fireballs. (Yes, you have permission to make the hand gesture. And shout "hadoken". If you must)

(swift actions)

Blade of Force:
Like Holy Warrior, but requires a swift action and then only works for one attack. Mega-meh.

Touch Spells that might come in handy (ha!)

Inflict Light Wounds
Inflict Moderate Wounds
Inflict Serious Wounds
Inflict Critical Wounds
(are we sensing a theme?)
...
Harm

Oooooohhhhh yyyeeeeeaaaahhhhh. The first time you get off Harm the Unarmed Swordsage is going to have some serious brown trouser time. Can you smell what the Monk is cooking? (inhales deeply then starts coughing)

The inflict spells get no love (because melee touch spells in general get no love, because who would be crazy enough too.... hey wait...), but they are a cheap way to scale up your fist damage early in the game.

Other touch cleric spells:
Parching touch (if thirst domain)
Produce Flame (if fire domain) - note: this is one of the bad boys that sticks around and we get multiple hits with it.
Darkfire
Handfang
Shivering Touch (the Dragon Killer)
Shape Metal
Dispel Evil (!!! Also grants a deflection bonus to AC. Woot!!!)
Soul Scour (hit them with the ugly and the stupid sticks at the same time!)
Chain of Chaos

Other interesting cleric spells:
Magic Weapon (make our fists magic, so we can hit incorporeal?)

Spiritual Weapon (see above)
Healing Spirit
Incarnum Weapon
Streamers (going with that whole 'hit them with weapons, but not in a way that will break my Sacred Fist vows' theme)

Touch of Madness and Rage are interesting Madness Domain spells.

Speaking of MADness, how are those stats looking?

Well, Strength we don't need if we take the intuitive-thingy feat
Intelligence is only required for skills, and once we have Guidance of the friction' Avatar they become pointless, so we don't need intelligence.
Charisma is nice (later on, once we get the Prestige Pally combo), but we don't need it up front.
Dexterity is useful for AC, but not more useful than Wisdom is for AC (when unarmored)
Constitution keeps us from getting deaded, and I hear that is good.
Wisdom of course is our primary stat.

28 point buy
Wis 16
Str 8
Int 10
Con 14
and then for Cha and Dex one at 14 the other at 12

You're not getting much for your money.

One of the nice things about adding Cleric to your Monk, is that you end up with a metric boatload of spells (the Imperial boatload is only 6% bigger btw). Let's say you have level 10 cleric casting. Okay, you have...

27 spells to cast, not including bonus spells. They don't all have to be touch spells. You're allowed to do other stuff. You have my permission.

9 touch spells, 9 buff spells and 9 utility spells (stuff like detect/dispel magic) is plenty. Note of course that you can turn random unuseful spells into healing spells on the fly as required. No problem. So we have a lot of versatility here.

Don't always memorise exactly the same touch spells. Mix it up a little, try different approaches. Remember that undead take damage from healing spells, so even if you had a bunch of inflict spells memorised you can still go to town with your touch attacks by converting the inflicts to heals.

Maybe one day you memorise a lot of hammer spells, then the next day it's mainly inflicts so you can punch the bad guys into the middle of next week, then when they arrive in the middle of next week you burn their faces off.

I second thi information, particularly the part about touch spells. Sacred Fist is my personal #1 reason for actually taking Monk levels.

The equalizer
2013-02-28, 05:04 AM
Take sacred vow, vow of poverty, stunning fist, combat reflexes, vexing flanker, ability focus stunning fist, extra stunning. Take intuitive attack as one of your exalted feats to use your wisdom modifier to determine attack bonus. Max out wisdom. Starting score array should be something like 14,16,14,10,16,8.
By level 10, your stunning fist should be forcing a fort save of dc 23. Swap out flurry of blows for decisive strike. Flank whenever possible. Decisive strike is good for hitting through dr to channel your stunning fist even if your strength is not maxed out. Downside is you only make one attack as a full round action so use it appropriately. Pharaoh's fist is another good feat if you are going that route. Allows you to stun all adjacent enemies to your target.

AC: 30
FF:27
Touch: 22

Fort: +9 (+13 vs disease, death and poison)
Reflex: +10
Will: +13( +17 vs charms and compulsions)

attack bonus should be +19/+14, 1d10+4
or with decisive strike +19, 2d10+8, (DC 25 fort save when used
to channel stunning fist)

The prime thing would be to flank and channel decisive strike with stunning fist in the second round if possible, doesn't matter if you can't attack in the first round. If yo got pharaoh's fist, every enemy adjacent to your target still has to make the save as well. Seen this build rock alot of opposition, monsters or otherwise.

Alienist
2013-02-28, 05:24 AM
Monk isn't necessarily the best for tanking, but I always love a good monk build.


Doesn't need to be, the Truenamer is the king, queen and whole royal family of healing.

Vows suck the fun out of the game.

For crowd control, try to get an eversmoking bottle, that will let you fight in optimal conditions (for you, if you take blindfighting)

For monk build, I like the one where you can teleport every round, and then punch at the end of each teleport.

Sun School Feat for punching after porting, and some reserve feat Dimensional Jaunt at level 9 for at will teleport.

Monk 2
Cleric 7
Sacred Fist the rest

Get a Monks belt for better h2h damage. Oh yeah, because you're part cleric you've got lots of buffing and healing of your own which is good for tanking. Not sure if there are any good cleric crowd control spells.