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Glenn_Beckett
2018-11-29, 07:36 PM
Hello, fellow nerds. Long time reader, first time poster. Iíve been dissatisfied with the monk subclasses for a while, because none of them reflect that classic Hong Kong cinema Kung Fu that I grew to love as a kid. If even Kung Fu god damn Panda gets it, why canít D&D?

So, I wrote up a classic Ď70s Kung Fu-inspired subclass. Iím hoping to get feedback on potential balance issues. Here it is:

Monks who master The Way of the Five Forms are disciplined in form and art. Their schools emphasize not simply the power of the martial arts, but their artistry, their history. Monks of the Five Forms often adhere to a strict tradition, or are chiefly concerned with the preservation of a monastic lineage.

First Form
Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you can choose to learn two of three forms, taking the stance a a bonus action. The stance lasts for 1 minute. You can only hold one stance at a time. The forms each bestow the following benefits:

Tiger Style: The Tiger Style focuses on attack. It is an aggressive stance that confers high damage.
Claws Slashing Downward: Unarmed strikes now deal slashing damage, and an additional +2 to that damage.
Tiger Growls: For 1 ki point, you below a terrifying growl. The sound of this growl is so intimidating that your opponents are afraid to hit you. You are functionally under the effects of the sanctuary spell.
Tiger Chasing Tail: In place of Flurry of Blows, you can spend 2 ki points to perform an additional attack on your turn: a backflip kick, which deals 2d6+DEX+2 slashing damage. The target must then succeed on a Dexterity Saving throw or be knocked prone. This damage increases at 5th (2d8), 11th (2d10), and 17th (2d12).
Tigerís Roar: For 3 ki points, you can use an action to end this stance early to expel a 20ft cone of fire, which deals 4d6 fire damage on a failed dexterity save, or half as much on a successful save. This damage increases to 6d6 at 5th level, 8d6 at 11th, and 10d6 at 17th. You automatically switch to a different form when you end your stance in this way.


Snake Style: The Snake Style is based on evasion, precise strikes, and counterattacks. It is a defensive stance that knocks opponents off balance.

Snake Moves Gracefully: While you are in this stance, your AC increases by +1. You gain advantage on Dexterity saving throws.
Snake Counterstrikes: When an enemy misses you with a melee attack, you can spend 1 ki point to instantly counterstrike with an unarmed attack
Snake Strikes Precisely: When you hit the same creature with two unarmed attacks in a single round, you can spend 2 ki points to impose the following conditions: the target cannot take reactions until the end of your next turn, and their AC is reduced by 1 for 1d4 rounds.
Snakeís Venom: For 3 ki points, you can use an action to end this stance early, making an attack at advantage on a creature. On a hit, the target must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the target becomes poisoned, ignoring immunity, for 1d4 rounds. You automatically switch to a different form when you end your stance this way.


Crane Style: The Crane Style emphasizes rapidity and range, and does not rely on strength or doing a great deal of damage for blows.

Crane Spreads Her Wings: While you are in this stance, your attacks have an additional +1 to hit. This increases at 5th level (+2), 11th level (+3), and 17th level (+4)
Crane Balances Gracefully: You spend 1 ki points to gain the following benefits for one minute: your melee attack range increases to 10ft; on your next hit, the target must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be knocked back 15 ft, landing prone; and you become immune to the prone condition. These benefits end if you leave the Crane Style.
Crane Dives for Fish: You spend 2 ki points to gain an additional round of attacks, as with the Action Surge feature. Your damage die decreases as a result. At 3rd level, your unarmed strikes do a flat 1+DEX damage. At 5th level, your damage die decreases to 1d4, and it decreases incrementally at 11th level (1d6), and 17th (1d8).
Crane Kicks: You can use an action to spend 3 ki points to end this stance early. You kick out a wave of force, in a line 5ft wide and 30ft long, dealing 2d6 force damage and forcing a Dexterity saving thrown. On a failed save, each affected creature makes all attacks until the end of your next turn with disadvantage. You automatically switch to a different stance when you end your stance this way.


Second Form
At 6th level, you learn one of two new styles: Monkey Style or Bear Style.

Monkey Style. Monkey Style emphasizes quick movement and mobility.


Monkey Swings Effortlessly: While you are in this stance, you do not provoke opportunity attacks. Additionally, your movement speed increases by 10ft, and you gain +1 to attacks made after moving to a target you were not currently engaged in combat with.
Monkeyís Swift Hands: Whenever you spend 1 ki point for Flurry of Blows, you are granted an extra attack, provided you move to a target you were not currently engaged in combat with.
Monkey Tumbles: You can spend 2 ki points to take the Dodge action as a free action.
Monkey Leaps: As an action, you can spend 3 ki points to end this stance early. When you do so, make your next melee attack at advantage. If this attack hits, you kick the target for 2d6 additional damage and immediately launch yourself up to 30ft toward another creature. Make an additional attack against that creature at advantage. You immediately assume another known stance of your choice when ending your stance in this way.


Bear Style. Bear Style grapples opponents to incapacitate them.


Bearís Strength: While you are in this stance, your Strength score becomes equal to your Dexterity score, and you gain proficiency in Athletics. If you already have proficiency, you gain double proficiency. Any creature grappled by you also becomes restrained.
Bear Crushes Prey: You spend 1 ki point to deal 2d6 bludgeoning damage to a creature you are grappling.
Bear Tosses Fish: As an action, you spend 2 ki points to roll a contested Strength (Athletics) check against a creature you are grappling. If you win this contested check, you throw the grappled creature up to 40 ft in any direction you choose.
Bear Mangles Bone: As an action, you can spend 3 ki points to end this stance early. When you do so, you slam a currently grappled creature to the ground, it lands prone and becomes stunned until the end of your next turn. You immediately assume another known stance of your choice when ending your stance in this way.


Third Form
Beginning at 11th level, you can learn one of two new stances: Dragon Form or Phoenix Form. At 17th level, you can take either form.

Dragon Style: The Dragon Style focuses on heartiness and resilience.

Dragonís Luck: Assuming this Form grants you +2 AC, and +1 to saving throws.
Scale of the Dragon: You gain 10 temporary HP at the end of each turn you spend in Dragon Form
Dragonís Resilience: You spend 2 ki points to gain resistance to one of the following: bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, along with one damage of your choice: fire, cold, lightning, acid, or poison, until this stance ends.
Dragon Takes Vengeance: You spend 4 ki points to end this stance early and cast Fireball, centered on yourself, and choosing which creatures will be affected.. Additionally, You can choose the type of damage the spell does: fire, cold, lightning, acid, or poison. You immediately assume another known stance of your choice when ending dragon stance in this way.


Phoenix Style: The Phoenix Style focuses on self-sacrifice for explosive damage.

Phoenix Ruffles Flaming Feathers: Assuming this Form costs 5hp and casts Investiture of Flame on yourself. You have advantage on concentration checks to maintain the spell.
Phoenix Fire Strike: You spend 2 ki points to add 1d6 fire damage to your attacks for the next round. You can spend an additional 10hp to increase this damage to 2d6.
Phoenix Ignites Her Way: You spend 4 ki points to end this stance early and become flame, moving 30ft in any direction you choose. Any creature in your path of movement takes 5d8 fire damage. You can spend an additional 20 hitpoints to increase this damage to 8d8. You immediately assume another known stance of your choice when ending your stance in this way.



The saving throw DC for all spell effects equals 8 + your Wisdom modifier + your proficiency bonus.

Form Breaker
At 17th level, you have mastered Kung Fu such that you can assume two stances simultaneously, gaining the benefits of both. Additoinally, you can now perform a finishing move. When you hit a creature with an unarmed strike, you can spend 10 ki points to perform this finishing move. The move depends on your current stance(s).

Tiger Form Finisher: You strike a creature with tremendous force. Your hit does an additional 8d10 force damage. You can increase this damage with additional ki points, dealing another 1d10 force damage per ki point. After performing this finisher, you instantly switch to another stance of your choice.

Snake Form Finisher: You strike a creature with inhuman precision. The creature automatically fails the next saving throw of your choice and becomes poisoned for 1 minute, ignoring immunity to the poisoned condition. After performing this finisher, you instantly switch to another stance of your choice.

Crane Form Finisher: You cast Steel Wind Strike. Use your normal melee attack (Dexterity) in place of a melee spell attack. After performing this finisher, you instantly switch to another stance of your choice.

Monkey Form Finisher: You zip from opponent to opponent, making a melee attack against up to 10 creatures of your choice. You end your turn within five ft of one creature that you attacked. These rapid attacks give you sudden insight into combat, and you gain the benefits of the Foresight spell for the next 8 hours. After performing this finisher, you instantly switch to another stance of your choice.

Bear Form Finisher*: You force a grappled opponent to make a Strength saving throw: the DC is 8+Proficiency+Strength. On a failed save, you attempt to break the creatureís spine, dealing 12d10 bludgeoning damage and 3 levels of exhaustion. On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage and no levels of exhaustion. A creature reduced to 0 hitpoints by this finisher is instantly killed as you snap its spine. After performing this finisher, you instantly switch to another stance of your choice.

Dragon Form Finisher: You cast Fireball at 9th level. You can choose which creatures in range are affected, along with the damage type: fire, cold, poison, lightning, or acid. After performing this finisher, you instantly switch to another stance of your choice.

Phoenix Form Finisher: You explode with energy at the additional cost of 25 hitpoints. Each creature of your choice within 30ft must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 10d6 fire damage and 10d6 bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful save. You can choose, instead, to reduce your hitpoint total to 1 in order to make this 20d6 fire and 20d6 bludgeoning, provided you have at least half your maximum hitpoint total remaining. After performing this finisher, you instantly switch to another stance of your choice.



*Credit to Grod_the_Giantís ďPath of the FistĒ homebrew barbarian for the spine breaker idea.

Grod_The_Giant
2018-11-29, 09:25 PM
First, this is an amazing idea and I'm in love.

There is a potential structural issue, though-- your stance picks will suffer from diminishing returns. You grab your favorite at 3, at 6 your second favorite, and so on (The Battle Master has the same issue). You also don't get to really feel the stance bit until 6th when you get your second choice.

To fix, maybe have unique stances each time you get to pick, like you do at 11th, and start off with two?

Glenn_Beckett
2018-11-29, 10:34 PM
So are you suggesting that I introduce a second style at fourth or fifth level? That would be something.

I could make the 6th level stance distinct. But I wonder how diminishing those returns will be, since each stance gets a minor finisher at that level in stance switching. Iím definitely cautious about increasing the power here, because Iím genuinely terrified of becoming ďOP Homebrew.Ē

Also, I kind of like the idea that I start with two stances and add two at 6th level, but I still worry about being OP. I want each stance to have inherent benefits. So, I worry about level six suddenly becoming the OP level. But play testing could be beneficial. Maybe a play tested monk could navigate mid level more accurately. Iím gonna try this boy out in my next campaign.

Sariel Vailo
2018-11-29, 11:25 PM
Oooooooooooh yeah this is good.

Vogie
2018-11-30, 10:25 AM
So are you suggesting that I introduce a second style at fourth or fifth level? That would be something.

I could make the 6th level stance distinct. But I wonder how diminishing those returns will be, since each stance gets a minor finisher at that level in stance switching. Iím definitely cautious about increasing the power here, because Iím genuinely terrified of becoming ďOP Homebrew.Ē

Also, I kind of like the idea that I start with two stances and add two at 6th level, but I still worry about being OP. I want each stance to have inherent benefits. So, I worry about level six suddenly becoming the OP level. But play testing could be beneficial. Maybe a play tested monk could navigate mid level more accurately. Iím gonna try this boy out in my next campaign.

No, I think what he's saying is you have 3 choices at level 3 (choose 2), 2 choices at level six (choose one) and 2 choices at level 11 (choose one). You can even have it so you can also choose from previous lists, so if you choose tiger and snake at 3 you can also choose crane at 11 (for some reason).

Since you already have a healing feature at 6, I'd make one of them a healing-focused stance - You can look at the UA Tranquility Monk for some inspiration, maybe a Lizard Style or Starfish Style. The other could be utility based (something like Monkey, Ox or Horse Style), subtlety or stalking based (Leopard), or something strange or esoteric (Rooster, Rabbit, Dog or Pig Style). (These suggestions sound weird, but they're based largely on the Zodiac animals)

I'd also lock in the choices for the finishing moves. You'll already have 4 stances at 17, so you'll already have 4 finishing moves. That's more than enough. It'll be odd to have all of this selection, and then toss it out the window at the capstone.

Grod_The_Giant
2018-11-30, 11:30 AM
No, I think what he's saying is you have 3 choices at level 3 (choose 2), 2 choices at level six (choose one) and 2 choices at level 11 (choose one). You can even have it so you can also choose from previous lists, so if you choose tiger and snake at 3 you can also choose crane at 11 (for some reason).

Pretty much this exactly. At 3rd level, pick two of Monkey/Crane/Snake. At 6th, pick one of ___/____*. At 11th, one of Dragon/Phoenix.

I'd also suggest maybe trying to standardize the presentation of the stance abilities a bit more-- say one free technique, a 1ki technique, a 2ki technique, and 3ki finisher.

As for some specific feedback...

Tiger giving both Claws Slashing Downward and Tiger Pouncing is probably too much. One of the other would be okay, but both seems like too much of a damage boost.
Tiger's Roar does too much damage for a bonus action.
Snake Moves Gracefully and Crane Spreads Her Wings don't probably shouldn't scale.
Snake Strikes Precisely should (presumably) specify that it requires hitting the same target with two unarmed strikes in a round. Also, Id go with a standard duration; you'll wind up triggering it a lot.
Snake's Venom might be too strong. Even as an action, "attack at advantage and auto-poison the target" is a lot; as a bonus action, <shudder>.
Does Crane Balances Gracefully only trigger the knockback once?
Dragon's Luck is waaaaayyy too good.
Dragon's Resilience is probably too good; resistance to all weapon damage is a lot.
I like the styling of Phoenix Reborn, but it sticks out mechanically something fierce. I'd move it to be your Finisher.
Phoenix Stance needs a stance-ending technique.
Tiger Form Finisher currently lets you punch a dude for +23d10 force damage, if you want to go all in. I'm not sure it's imbalanced, but it's a helluva burst.
Dragon Form Finisher seems anemic compared to some of the others.
Phoenix Form Finisher is much too much damage for something you can do repeatedly. I'd start low and scale up as you sacrifice more health, maybe




*Maybe a grapple-focused Bear Style and a movement-focused Monkey Style? Or maybe push Crane Style and its supernatural effects back a bit.

Glenn_Beckett
2018-11-30, 06:19 PM
Pretty much this exactly. At 3rd level, pick two of Monkey/Crane/Snake. At 6th, pick one of ___/____*. At 11th, one of Dragon/Phoenix.

I'd also suggest maybe trying to standardize the presentation of the stance abilities a bit more-- say one free technique, a 1ki technique, a 2ki technique, and 3ki finisher.

As for some specific feedback...

Tiger giving both Claws Slashing Downward and Tiger Pouncing is probably too much. One of the other would be okay, but both seems like too much of a damage boost.
Tiger's Roar does too much damage for a bonus action.
Snake Moves Gracefully and Crane Spreads Her Wings don't probably shouldn't scale.
Snake Strikes Precisely should (presumably) specify that it requires hitting the same target with two unarmed strikes in a round. Also, Id go with a standard duration; you'll wind up triggering it a lot.
Snake's Venom might be too strong. Even as an action, "attack at advantage and auto-poison the target" is a lot; as a bonus action, <shudder>.
Does Crane Balances Gracefully only trigger the knockback once?
Dragon's Luck is waaaaayyy too good.
Dragon's Resilience is probably too good; resistance to all weapon damage is a lot.
I like the styling of Phoenix Reborn, but it sticks out mechanically something fierce. I'd move it to be your Finisher.
Phoenix Stance needs a stance-ending technique.
Tiger Form Finisher currently lets you punch a dude for +23d10 force damage, if you want to go all in. I'm not sure it's imbalanced, but it's a helluva burst.
Dragon Form Finisher seems anemic compared to some of the others.
Phoenix Form Finisher is much too much damage for something you can do repeatedly. I'd start low and scale up as you sacrifice more health, maybe




*Maybe a grapple-focused Bear Style and a movement-focused Monkey Style? Or maybe push Crane Style and its supernatural effects back a bit.

Thatís SO helpful! Thanks!

Glenn_Beckett
2018-11-30, 08:17 PM
I wrote these insanely too quickly, but I like having a Style choice at 6 better for sure.

At 6th level, you learn one of two new styles: Monkey Style or Bear Style.

Monkey Style. Monkey Style emphasizes quick movement and mobility.


Monkey Swings Effortlessly: While you are in this stance, you do not provoke opportunity attacks. Additionally, your movement speed increases by 10ft, and you gain +1 to attacks made after moving to a target you were not currently engaged in combat with.
Monkeyís Swift Hands: Whenever you spend 1 ki point for Flurry of Blows, you are granted an extra attack, provided you move to a target you were not currently engaged in combat with.
Monkey Tumbles: You can spend 2 ki points to take the Dodge action as a free action.
Monkey Leaps: As an action, you can spend 3 ki points to end this stance early. When you do so, make your next melee attack at advantage. If this attack hits, you kick the target for 2d6 additional damage and immediately launch yourself up to 30ft toward another creature. Make an additional attack against that creature at advantage.


Bear Style. Bear Style grapples opponents to incapacitate them.


Bearís Strength: While you are in this stance, your Strength score becomes equal to your Dexterity score, and you gain proficiency in Athletics. If you already have proficiency, you gain double proficiency. Any creature grappled by you also becomes restrained.
Bear Crushes Prey: You spend 1 ki point to deal 2d6 bludgeoning damage to a creature you are grappling.
Bear Tosses Fish: As an action, you spend 2 ki points to roll a contested Strength (Athletics) check against a creature you are grappling. If you win this contested check, you throw the grappled creature up to 40 ft in any direction you choose.
Bear Mangles Bone: As an action, you can spend 3 ki points to end this stance early. When you do so, you slam a currently grappled creature to the ground, it lands prone and becomes stunned until the end of your next turn.

TheYell
2018-12-01, 11:14 AM
Very good! How about an evil Eagle Claw style that steals ki and does additional sonic damage?

Glenn_Beckett
2018-12-01, 05:32 PM
Very good! How about an evil Eagle Claw style that steals ki and does additional sonic damage?

I might replace Monkey with that one... Snake in the Eagleís Shadow is one of the best/worst movies Iíve ever seen and is very much the style Iím going for (not to mention the Eagle Claw Nun in Iron Monkey).

sandmote
2018-12-01, 06:39 PM
Currently it doesn't really feel like you're giving up that many options to take the ones you want. You should probably add a form each at 3rd and 6th levels. Maybe add eagle style at 6th and mantis style and/or deer style at 3rd?

Glenn_Beckett
2018-12-01, 06:50 PM
Currently it doesn't really feel like you're giving up that many options to take the ones you want. You should probably add a form each at 3rd and 6th levels. Maybe add eagle style at 6th and mantis style and/or deer style at 3rd?

Good idea, though Iím worried about it becoming bloated.

Eagle would be a particularly good option at 6, because I imagine it could grant some limited (or not so limited) flight, which would make it a pretty viable choice.

sandmote
2018-12-01, 11:35 PM
Good idea, though Iím worried about it becoming bloated.

Eagle would be a particularly good option at 6, because I imagine it could grant some limited (or not so limited) flight, which would make it a pretty viable choice.

It would probably help the bloat more to simplify the existing language.

Half a step away from that, it might be better to remove the parts of abilities that let you switch stances before level 17. Specifically, Tiger's Roar, Snake's Venom, Crane Kicks, Monkey Leaps, Bear Mangles Bone, Dragon Takes vengeance, and Phoenix Ignites Her Way. It would make the finishers more potent, because the secondary effect they share would be new, instead of something you could already do.
Alternatively, if you don't particularly need the finishers, perhaps simply drop those. Being able to maintain two forms at once is a fairly large bonus already, and it's more consistent.

To be clear, I don't think the abilities letting you instantly switch forms should be removed completely, just that there should only be one ability granting such a thing.

Back to my original suggestion, I'd at least like to set up some basic some basic ideas for Mantis form and Deer form:

Mantis Style: The mantis Style focuses on removing a threat and then adding a counter in a precise location.
Striking Hook: Your unarmed strikes score a critical hit on a roll of 19-20.
Mantis Removes: When a creature makes a melee attack against you, you can spend 1 ki point as a reaction to inflict disadvantage on all melee attacks against you until the start of your next turn.
Mantis Adds: You can spend 2 ki points and make two unarmed attacks as an action. When these attacks score a critical hit, roll one additional damage die when determining the extra damage for a critical hit.
Mantis Shatters: For 3 ki points, you can use an action to end this stance early to make an attack against any targets in reach of your unarmed strike. You automatically switch to a different form when you end your stance in this way

Form Breaker:
Mantis Form Finisher: You unleash rapid power, making an additional 5 unarmed strikes, and any unarmed strikes that hit as a part of this action are automatically critical hits. After performing this finisher, you instantly switch to another stance of your choice.

Deer Style: Deer Style focuses on evasion and conserving resources.
Deer Stays Steady: When making a saving throw, you can treat a d20 roll of 9 or lower as a 10.
Deer Twists: You can spend 1 ki point to attempt to disarm a target, forcing it to drop one item of your choice that it's holding. In addition to the attack, the target must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, it drops the object you choose. The object lands at its feet.
Deer Grants Distance: Whenever you take the Dodge action in combat, you can spend one Hit Die to heal yourself.
Deer Runs Down: For 3 ki points, you can use an action to end this stance early. When you do so, you can cast Cure Wounds as a second level spell targeting yourself as a bonus action You automatically switch to a different form when you end your stance in this way.

Form Breaker:
Deer Form Finisher: Preparing yourself, you deal an additional 3d10 bludgeoning damage and restore health equal to half your hit points. After performing this finisher, you instantly switch to another stance of your choice.

TheYell
2018-12-02, 02:17 PM
Eagle Claw [evil]


Eagle Claw focuses on perverting flowing energies.


Stance of the Raptor: While in Eagle Claw stance, the practitioner's unarmed attacks make an audible eagle's cry and deals an additional point of sonic damage. Every time he deals damage with an unarmed attack against a living creature, he regains a ki point. He does not regain ki dealing damage to constructs or the undead. His unarmed attacks deal piercing damage.

Eagle's Flurry : The practitioner may spend 1 ki point to take half damage from an attack and 2 ki points to evade it entirely. He makes this decision after the attack is rolled.

Eagle's Flight: The practitioner may spend 4 ki points to make himself airborne for a full round. All his unarmed attacks are made with advantage, and all melee attacks against him are made with disadvantage.

Eagle Roosts on Mountain: The practitioner perverts the flow of the earth's energy. As a full round action the practitioner stands still flapping his arms, regaining half of his hit points and half of his ki pool, rounded down. This effect is disrupted if he takes damage before his next turn.

Finishing Move
Eagle's Wrath: The practitioner expends his ki pool to become airborne, gaining advantage on all unarmed attacks, and all melee attacks against him are made with disadvantage. The practitioner may choose the following effects for his unarmed attacks: paralyzing, knock prone, double damage, push back 5 feet. He determines this after rolling each attack. The practitioner ends his turn on the ground in another stance.