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    Default [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Ladies! And, gentlemen! Children, of all ages! Venerable immortals of immemorial age, and strangers from reaches far!

    As you may know, I, as many people on this forum, have done my own tweaks to the Monk class, as you may know, or perhaps seen. While the praise was good and I managed to buff it up a bit more, I will be frank.

    I find this first attempt entirely boring. To be clear, I've grown to loathe it.

    Lets face it: it has all of the stuff that people usually deliver to make a better monk (full BAB, some synergy between damage and mobility), while using a mechanic that I find was underused (the ki mechanic, which was left as a ninja exclusive). However, at the very end, it was just a guy who wore no armor, punched really well, and had some nifty stuff; sure, you could replace "punch well" with "deals more damage with specific weapons", but for all things, it was a build, not a class, what I was making. Thus, even if it was a good one, it really wasn't built to what I would consider proper.

    As you may know, most people here have three solutions to the monk problem: psionics, unarmed Swordsage, or homebrewing. I personally incline towards psionics, and I find that trying to hammer the feel of the Monk towards the Swordsage is an utter lack of respect for the true feel of the class (besides, it's great in battle; what about outside of it?)

    That second point has to be explained with utmost care. I will be frank with you; I find that the Fighter has no solution to its problem, as the Warblade simply outclasses it on every point. There is, IMO, no more elegant solution than that. On the other hand, I am an ardent believer that the Paladin, mechanically, can be distant from the Crusader, and that is coming from a person who began to love the concept of a Paladin through Final Fantasy Tactics (which has most of the knightly NPCs use techniques much like those of the Nine Swords disciplines). However, I simply had to try it, and as you may know, that led to Project Heretica.

    The reason I mention this is because, IMO, the Monk has to have a feel that's distinct both mechanically and in terms of roleplaying to the Swordsage; whereas the Monk seeks perfection through ascetism and is a more religious kind of guy, the Swordsage is the Wuxia hero, the one that Jet Li loves to interpret. To put it succintly, the Monk should be Kwai Chang Caine, the Swordsage should be Li Mu Bai. And the latter, as awesome as he may be, was actually much better with a jian or a dao alongside unarmed strikes rather than just going through fisticuffs. However, I had a good reworking of the Monk; why I wasn't feeling it was throughly distinct?

    When I made the small quip about the heart of Project Heretica, I mentioned something that led a bit to this concise retooling of the Monk, and which I drew somewhat from many people, including FrankTrollman; a class should be mechanically viable for various archetypes, not just for one. In simpler terms: make a class, not a build.

    Which, of course, was what really bothered me of my work. When I worked with the Paladin, I tried to make it so that it could work for various archetypes, and not just "the warrior of Good". A demon hunter, an undead slayer, a protector, a faithful combatant; all should be archetypes that a Paladin could fill. Certainly, those are archetypes that the Crusader could also fill, and that is definitely something I can't deny; YET, I could work with a mechanical construct that blended divine magic with martial prowess, that could be competitive with the Crusader, but that could fulfill a variety of archetypes. I feel I did this with the Project Heretica Paladin, and I expect that is the case. If not, you are welcome to debate that IN ITS THREAD. This thread, of course, has other issues.

    Now, what I'm going to say isn't meant to be taken as belittling the work of other 'brewers, but as a way to explain how a personal frustration led to inspiration for a massive retool of a class in a way that fulfilled what I personally expected from my own line of work, instead of merely "patching". Up to this moment, I wasn't really comfortable with any other attempt to "fix" the Monk, because of two things: either they added psionics/spellcasting/maneuvers which invalidated other options (such as multiclassing) without a specific reason, or were builds. Part of the idea of homebrewing was to use the options that were already presented by WotC (such as Invisible Fist, for example), even though at the end most of the options added by the developers were included to the class itself. Thus, adding psionics invalidated the need for Psionic Fist/of Zuoken (and to an extent Zerth Cenobite) and Tashalatora, while making a Monk with maneuvers was just attempting to duplicate the Swordsage, which just added some insult to injury. I will admit, though, that these classes have a breadth of options, but RP-wise, you couldn't do much with them and even then the options were kinda limited (punching, no armor). Some were really smart (adding the Soulknife chassis to the Monk and making a class out of both was a nice idea, but the Soulknife belongs a bit better to Psychic Warrior), however.

    On the other hand, some 'brews were excessively complex (Frank & K's Dungeonomicon Monk) or just kept adding stuff to the original Monk and just added more to a build (just like adding the benefits of VoP to the Monk for free). One in particular, which I'll mention by name but for the sole reason of recognizing its part on the inspiration of fully reworking this class, is jiriku's version of the Monk. Many people in this forum hail it as "how the Monk should be", but every time I saw it, I found that it was just fixing some stuff, but wasn't giving options. While most people will play the Barbarian in the exact same way, there are ways to make decent Barbarians without relying on two-handed melee weapons and Power Attack (Whirling Frenzy is an example), but when you reach a Wizard or a Cleric, the options are incredible. Ranger, with its ACFs, has an incredible depth of options as well. The Monk...unless you boosted its punching power, it couldn't do much, because it has a lot of abilities, but more than no synergy between them, it had no underlying factor for them to exist. Trying to use that chassis leads, IMO, to a weak class no matter what, so I couldn't understand why people claimed it was a strong Tier 3 class (barring the ACFs; that was a sweet move). I'll admit a bit of jealousy, but I will also admit that if it weren't because of that, I wouldn't have gone and done a good look at my old work and refurbish it almost from the ground up. I don't wish to sound harsh because of this, but despite that bit of jealousy, giving up on my own work and accepting his as better would have left me with a bad taste on my mouth, since I disagree with the method (otherwise, I wouldn't have had problems with my earlier revamping of the Monk). So, for all fans of his work (and specifically to him); no hard feelings, and I hope that one day I do a work so well that someone else feels inspired to do his own because of jealousy.

    Well...that really seemed a bit haughty, but I expect more laughs than problems: after all, jealousy is the best form of flattery, no?

    Having seen what I felt was the big troubles with the Monk, I started to add more and more stuff, giving it many options so that two Monks weren't built in the same way. One thing led to another, and FINALLY I find a set of options that I find satisfactory. There is just one itty-bitty problem with it. Once you see it, you'll know, but just to hammer it down:

    Making a Monk is complex. Quite a bit complex.

    While I was lambasting a bit the complexity of various 'brews, I noticed my own retool made the Monk a bit too complex to understand. Let this be clear: I WANT the class to be complex, because in this time I favor options over simplicity. However, I made a lot of work to make the class as simple as possible while still full of options, and it is STILL a bit complex to understand. I decided that the complexity was a necessary evil, but one that most people won't understand and probably cause to shun.

    And that, of course, is where you can help. I'll post the class with the next post, and the one afterwards will be a simpler explanation on how to build that Monk. Once that happens, I'll be looking for your help on simplifying the class even further, but keeping as many options as possible: sometimes, vocabulary is what you need to make things simple, and sometimes it's better to blend two class abilities into one.

    If you don't see it, don't worry; I'll post it somewhere soon (it's the holidays, after all, plus at the moment I write this my computer is kinda busted), so don't post while at that. Consider this a not-so-brief introduction to the class, while I gather all the information and post it.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk

    MONK


    Diablo III Female Monk. Artist unknown.

    "There are many ways to achieve perfection in body, mind and soul. I do not seek perfection. I only seek what I will do once I attain it, and how I can make others perfect as I will be." - Dallia the Orphan, monk of the Many Rivers of Flowing Water monastery, master of the Flowing Water style and follower of the Path of Harmonious Balance, sharing her wisdom.

    MAKING A MONK (what has changed this time)
    Spoiler
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    Abilities: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution and Wisdom remain important, but the class has been built to depend on no more than three stats, and more often than not usually on one. Monks following the way of Fire will want high Strength to cement their offensive, with Dexterity and Constitution as defensive stats. Followers of the way of Air will prefer Dexterity as a catch-all stat, with Constitution and Wisdom working for their defense. Followers of the way of Earth will prefer Constitution, with some Strength for offensive. Finally, followers of the way of Water will seek Wisdom as their primary stat, with Dexterity and Constitution as complementary stats.
    Races: Because of the change on how stats work, all classes are fit, but some work better than others. Humans work well with any elemental way, and are usually the go-to race. Dwarves and gnomes work well as monks following the way of Earth (because of their high Constitution), elves and halflings work well if they follow the way of Air because of their Dexterity, and the rare lawful half-orc will gravitate towards the way of Fire.
    Amongst the savage races, hobgoblins are fit for monk training despite their level adjustment, excelling equally in the way of Air or Earth. Lawful giants, because of their size and Strength bonuses, make formidable monks of the way of Fire, relying on their Strength for virtually anything.
    Alignment: As core Monk; any lawful. Feel free to expand to any, but give a good reason why; ki strike is predominantly lawful and the philosophies are built around a lawful mentality. Followers of the Path of the Riddle of Equilibrium may qualify through the True Neutral alignment because of the closeness of the philosophy, but this isn't enforced or particularly allowed.
    Starting Gold: as core Monk
    Starting Age: as core Monk


    Class Skills
    The monk’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).
    Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x4.
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

    Spoiler
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    Not much change in here. They keep their class skills mostly intact.

    One difference, though, can be seen on the class abilities. I've heard of some people who want to see the skill-monkey side of the Monk reinforced a bit, so I worked some ideas into them via the Way of the Beasts. Virtually all, if not actually all, of the abilities are keyed to a Monk-specific skill.


    Hit Die: d8
    Level BAB1 Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
    Slow Fall distance4
    Unarmed Damage2
    AC Bonus
    Speed Bonus3
    1st +0
    +2
    +2
    +2
    Ki power, martial training, unarmed strike
    0 ft.
    1d6
    +0
    +0 ft.
    2nd +1
    +3
    +3
    +3
    Evasion, way of the elements (primary), wholeness of body
    0 ft.
    1d6
    +0
    +0 ft.
    3rd +2
    +3
    +3
    +3
    Fleeting step, touching the ripples (blindsense 30 ft.), way of the beasts
    0 ft.
    1d6
    +0
    +10 ft.
    4th +3
    +4
    +4
    +4
    Art of the deadly wind, ki strike (magic), slow fall
    20 ft.
    1d8
    +1
    +10 ft.
    5th +4
    +4
    +4
    +4
    Purity of body, Unburdened path (1/round)
    20 ft.
    1d8
    +1
    +10 ft.
    6th +5
    +5
    +5
    +5
    Bonus feat, philosophy, still mind, way of the beasts
    40 ft.
    1d8
    +1
    +20 ft.
    7th +6/+1
    +5
    +5
    +5
    Resilient body (10)
    40 ft.
    1d8
    +1
    +20 ft.
    8th +6/+1
    +6
    +6
    +6
    Deadly weapons, ki strike +2 (lawful), walk the river and the clouds
    40 ft.
    1d10
    +2
    +20 ft.
    9th +7/+2
    +6
    +6
    +6
    Improved evasion, the way between the ways, way of the beasts
    60 ft.
    1d10
    +2
    +30 ft.
    10th +8/+3
    +7
    +7
    +7
    Finishing move, way of the elements (secondary)
    60 ft.
    1d10
    +2
    +30 ft.
    11th +9/+4
    +7
    +7
    +7
    Bonus feat, diamond body, resilient body (20/10)
    60 ft.
    1d10
    +2
    +30 ft.
    12th +9/+4
    +8
    +8
    +8
    Abundant step, ki strike +3 (adamantine), way of the beasts
    80 ft.
    2d6
    +3
    +40 ft.
    13th +9/+4
    +8
    +8
    +8
    Diamond soul, touching the ripples (blindsight 30 ft.)
    80 ft.
    2d6
    +3
    +40 ft.
    14th +10/+5
    +9
    +9
    +9
    Unburdened path (1/2 class level)
    80 ft.
    2d6
    +3
    +40 ft.
    15th +11/+6/+1
    +9
    +9
    +9
    Resilient body (30/20/10), the ways unite, way of the beasts
    100 ft.
    2d6
    +4
    +50 ft.
    16th +12/+7/+2
    +10
    +10
    +10
    Bonus feat, ki strike +4
    100 ft.
    2d8
    +4
    +50 ft.
    17th +13/+8/+3
    +10
    +10
    +10
    Timeless body
    100 ft.
    2d8
    +4
    +50 ft.
    18th +14/+9/+4
    +11
    +11
    +11
    Diamond mind, way of the beasts
    any
    2d8
    +5
    +60 ft.
    19th +15/+10/+5
    +11
    +11
    +11
    Empty body
    any
    2d8
    +5
    +60 ft.
    20th +15/+10/+5
    +12
    +12
    +12
    Ki strike +5, mastery of ki, perfect self
    any
    2d10
    +6
    +60 ft.

    1: A monk using unarmed strikes or special monk weapons uses a good BAB instead; see Martial Training
    2: Table shows unarmed damage for Medium creatures.
    3: Monks that follow the way of Water move 10 feet more; monks that follow the way of Earth move 10 feet less.
    4: Monks that follow the way of Air have a distance increase of 10 feet.

    Spoiler
    Show
    This should serve as an example of how complex the class really is. Just like the core Monk, the retooling has abilities at every level, and nearly all levels have more than two (sometimes even four) abilities at each level.

    Something peculiar you'll notice is that Monks returned to medium BAB, which may serve as a "why!?" to most people. Rest assured with many weapons, they'll have the equivalent of full BAB, but with others they'll have medium BAB as usual. This is really to reinforce the use of special Monk weapons, as you'll eventually see by the benefits these abilities have.

    Another is the reference to monks of "Air, Earth, Fire" or "Water". This refers to the 2nd level ability, Way of the Elements. I've heard this resembles bending somewhat, but I changed it from its original inception (binding combat maneuvers to the elemental ways); in any case, your choice of element defines exactly how you'll play a Monk.

    Hopefully, and as usual, these spoilers will explain the ideas behind the changes, but there's a reason why I left one post open. It's hard to make a simple class with many options that doesn't require you to be a spellcaster, so it's gonna be a hard ride for most.

    Also, I'll have to admit, the Monk revamping of Dungeons & Dragons Online had a lot to do with this retooling, but the Monk plays VERY differently from that one. Just so you know.


    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the monk.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Monks are proficient with all simple weapons plus the handaxe, kama, kukri, nunchaku, sai, shortsword, shuriken, siangham and spiked chain. Monks are not proficient with any armor or shields.
    When wearing armor, using a shield, or carrying a heavy load, a monk loses her AC bonus, as well as her fast movement, slow fall, and all her ki abilities.

    Spoiler
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    I know the kama is a glorified Okinawan sickle turned into a weapon, and that it may be odd to see a monk wielding a mace, but why couldn't they grant monks simple weapon proficiency and call it a day? Spears could be reliably used as monk weapons, and they already had crossbow proficiency, so it was ridiculous not to grant them proficiency with their best weapons (their unarmed strikes).

    From the earlier revision, the monk retains its spiked chain proficiency, because...heck, why not? They'll get a martial arts style that works with disarming and tripping, so why not give them one of the best, if not THE best, weapons for that purpose?

    Again, no proficiency on any type of armor and the limitations remain. I never heard that was something that needed changing, so...


    AC Bonus (Ex): When unarmored and unencumbered, the monk adds her Wisdom bonus (if any) to her AC; monks who follow the path of Earth use Constitution instead. In addition, a monk gains a +1 bonus to AC at certain intervals, as shown on the table above. The bonuses are not cumulative.
    These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the monk is flat-footed. She loses these bonuses when she is immobilized or helpless, when she wears any armor, when she carries a shield, or when she carries a heavy load.

    Spoiler
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    Not much difference, except that monks following the way of Earth use Constitution instead of Wisdom, so dwarves will have a huge AC amount if they place some importance to Constitution. Not to mention huge HP amounts, as well.


    Unarmed Strike: At 1st level, a monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat.
    A monk’s attacks may be with either fist interchangeably or even from elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk may even make unarmed strikes with her hands full. Exception: a monk may not use unarmed strikes if she holds a weapon in each hand (or a double weapon) if she is using the Two-Weapon Fighting feat. She may, however, use unarmed strikes with the Two-Weapon Fighting feat if she holds only one weapon or none (in the case of none, treat each unarmed strike as a separate weapon for purposes of qualifying). There is no such thing as an off-hand damage penalty for a monk striking unarmed, she may thus apply her full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all her unarmed strikes.
    Usually a monk’s unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but she can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on her attack roll. She has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling.
    A monk’s unarmed strike is treated both as a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.
    A monk also deals more damage with her unarmed strikes than a normal person would, as shown on the table above. The unarmed damage on the table above is for Medium monks. A Small monk deals less damage than the amount given there with her unarmed attacks, while a Large monk deals more damage; see the following table.

    Level Damage (Small Monk) Damage (Large Monk)
    1st–3rd 1d4 1d8
    4th–7th 1d6 2d6
    8th–11th 1d8 2d8
    12th–15th 1d10 3d6
    16th–19th 2d6 3d8
    20th 2d8 4d6

    Spoiler
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    There is little change to the unarmed strike ability of the Monk, but echoes from the earlier incarnation still exist. The main difference between the older version and this one is that this version's Unarmed Strike resembles a bit more the core version.

    There ARE some changes, though, mostly on vocabulary. The first paragraph mentions the following: you can make unarmed strikes with a longspear (which resolves the reach problem) or a spiked chain (ditto), and even with a quarterstaff if using it as a two-handed weapon. In the case of TWF, the unarmed strike counts as a light weapon wielded in one hand, so you can't use these attacks if you have both hands full (because you'd have three weapons on two hands, so to speak). This enables the use of TWF.

    The third paragraph allows you to use unarmed strikes as natural weapons for Improved Natural Weapon and Magic Fang, but as manufactured weapons for Magic Weapon (& Greater MW), Greater Mighty Wallop and other such abilities. You can't directly enchant your unarmed strikes, though, but as with the earlier version you can allow gauntlets as special monk weapons, or add handwraps which grant their enhancement to the weapon.

    The table has a minor nerf: the original allowed you to deal 4d8 points of damage at 20th level, this one lowers damage to 4d6.


    Martial Training: When unarmored and either unarmed or wielding special monk weapons (including darts, slings and shuriken), a monk fights as if her base attack bonus was equal to her class level. Thus, a 7th level monk fights as if she had a base attack bonus of +7 and may make a second attack as a full attack action, as usual. If the monk gains levels in another class, her base attack bonus when using unarmed strikes or special monk weapons is equal to her class level plus her base attack bonus with the other classes (thus, a 7th level monk/2nd level rogue would be considered as having a base attack bonus of +8).
    Furthermore, the monk can choose to specialize in a specific style of combat. The monk must be unarmed (or wielding a special monk weapon) and unarmored to gain the bonuses from the combat style, but she needs not meet these requisites to use the granted bonus feat. The styles of combat are shown as follows:

    Cobra Strike: followers of this style of combat prefer to move over the battlefield delivering solid strikes rather than remaining still. A monk learning the Cobra Strike style gains the Spring Attack feat as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites. At 5th level, the monk deals an extra 1d6 points of damage on the first attack whenever she charges or uses the Spring Attack feat; this damage increases by 1d6 for every five levels afterwards. At 10th level, if the monk has the Bounding Assault (see Player's Handbook II) feat or the ability to make an extra attack while using Spring Attack or charge, she may spread her damage dice between attacks.

    Denying Stance: followers of this style of combat focus on denying the advantage of enemies whenever they use combat maneuvers, or move too nearby. A monk learning the Denying Stance style gains Combat Reflexes as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites. At 5th level, and every five levels afterwards, the monk gains a +1 bonus on opposed disarm or trip checks. At 10th level, if the monk succeeds on the attack of opportunity, it may elect to deal no damage but instead daze the opponent for 1 round. A Fortitude save (DC=damage dealt) negates the effect.

    Empty Hand: followers of this style of combat focus on their unarmed strikes to the exclusion of other weapons. A monk learning the Empty Hand style gains Improved Natural Attack as a bonus feat, but applying only to her unarmed strike. At 5th level and every five levels afterwards, the monk deals 2 extra points of damage when making unarmed strikes. At 10th level, if the monk makes a single attack as a full-round action, she deals double damage if successful, as well as with all attacks done until the beginning of the next round.

    Flurry of Blows: followers of this style of combat deliver hits at blazing speeds, delivering two hits where one would suffice. A monk learning the Flurry of Blows style gains Snap Kick (see Tome of Battle: the Book of Nine Swords) as a bonus feat. At 5th level, and again at 15th level, the penalty for using the Snap Kick feat is reduced by 1. At 10th level, the monk may make an extra attack at her highest base attack bonus when making a full attack action.

    Invisible Eye: followers of this style fight with no problems even within the darkness. A monk learning the Invisible Eye style gains Blind-Fight as a bonus feat. At 5th level, and every five levels afterwards, the monk gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls when blinded. At 10th level, whenever a monk is forced to roll for concealment, she rolls three times and chooses the best result: if the monk bypasses concealment on all three rolls, the creature becomes outlined for 1 round (only once per round).

    Meditation of War: followers of this style fight battles in their mind, seeking the correct course of action to land a devastating strike that ends the battle in a single blow. A monk learning the Meditation of War style gains Stunning Fist as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites. At 5th level, and every five levels afterwards, the monk gains a +1 bonus to the Stunning Fist DC. At 10th level, a creature that succeeds on the saving throw against the use of Stunning Fist by 5 or more still remains dazed for 1 round.

    Overwhelming Assault: followers of this style go in all-out offense, pressing the advantage delivered by a brutal offensive. A monk learning the Overwhelming Assault style gains Power Attack as a bonus feat even if she does not meet the prerequisites, which may be used with unarmed strikes or special monk weapons. At 5th level, and every five levels afterwards, the monk gains a +1 bonus on all bull rush and overrun checks, and ignores 1 point of hardness when making a sunder attempt. At 10th level, for every point of BAB sacrificed while using the Power Attack feat, the monk deals 2 points of damage (effectively, a monk deals double damage when using Power Attack) when using an unarmed strike or a special monk weapon (regardless of being a light, one-handed or two-handed weapon); furthermore, she is treated as if having BAB equal to her monk level plus her BAB from other classes (as if the monk had full BAB) to determine the maximum penalty to attack rolls.

    Passive Way: followers of this style of combat fight defensively, preferring counter attacks to be their most devastating technique. A monk learning the Passive Way style gains Combat Expertise as a bonus feat. At 5th level, and every five levels afterwards, the monk gains a +1 insight bonus on AC when fighting defensively, using the total defense maneuver or the Combat Expertise feat. At 10th level, if the monk following this style fights defensively, uses the total defense maneuver or the Combat Expertise feat, any creature that attacks her provokes an attack of opportunity.

    Vicious Grip: followers of this style of combat prefer to hold their opponents into a grapple, halting their movement and slowly defeating them. A monk learning the Vicious Grip style gains Improved Grapple as a bonus feat even if she does not meet the prerequisites. At 5th level, and every five levels afterwards, the monk gains a +1 bonus on all opposed grapple checks and damage dealt while grappling. At 10th level, the monk is treated as one size larger when making a grapple check (gaining the appropriate bonus on opposed grapple checks), which stacks with any other ability that increases size (such as the enlarge person spell).

    At 10th level, the monk may decide to follow a second martial style. If she chooses to, she gains the bonus feat related to the style and gains the indicated bonus as a monk of 10 levels lower, but does not gain the specific 10th level benefit of her primary style.

    Spoiler
    Show
    For a while, I thought what to do with Flurry of Blows, since it's an iconic ability, but it only dealt with one of the Monk's aspects, not a wide variety. Eventually, on one of the many Monkday threads, someone asked why there weren't martial arts applications to Monk 'brews, and of course I answered "because it's too complicated". However, I figured it could be attempted, and here's the result. If some of the names are familiar, it's because I decided to make the Monk fighting styles part of the build experience, in order to increment manifold the options of the mechanical construct.

    Martial Training is based on two (sometimes three) main concepts: one, the Monk has Fighter traits, so it has to fight just as well, if not better, than a martial combatant. Full BAB is one of the many ways a Monk can equal most martial combatants, but the lack of feats and synergistic abilities makes it not enough. In DDO (and partly in Pathfinder), ideas of granting a partial form of full BAB were applied, limited to certain weapons. This makes using a kama or nunchaku more useful than, say, wielding a crossbow or longsword (if you gain proficiency with it) because your BAB will be lower.

    The lack of ways to equal other martial characters' abilities becomes concept #2: the various fighting styles merely granted bonus feats but the abilities were really minor. If you thought you'd be a master grappler, you ended up being a poor grappler, even when compared to a Fighter of your same race and with similar WBL. Thus, each fighting style has a bonus feat, a scaling bonus that applies every few levels, and a specific 10th level trait that enhances the benefit of the earlier feat. Thus, if you choose, say, Overwhelming Assault, you definitely want to deal large amounts of damage with lots of Strength, which may lead to a form of ubercharging. Flurry is subsumed into the combat styles, and becomes tied to the usual "solution" to FoB, which is Snap Kick; however, the end result is a much more awesome Snap Kick.

    You'll notice that some combat styles have synergy with others, such as Cobra Strike and Flurry of Blows. The idea, of course, is to provide options to choose your bonus (and general) feats in sync with other combat styles: mobility and pouncing, AoO and denying options, multiple hits and damage, etc. The synergy makes choosing another style at 10th level roughly equal to advancing the existing one.

    You're welcome to debate about this, but I found that replacing FoB with a multitude of combat styles makes for a more elegant solution. As well, if a PrC advances flurry of blows, you should consider allowing advancement of your combat style.


    Ki Power (Su): A monk can channel her ki to enhance her mobility, defense, and special attacks through a variety of powers. She can use her ki powers a number of times per day equal to her class level plus her Wisdom bonus (if any); monks that follow the way of Earth or Fire (see below) add their Constitution or Strength bonuses instead, respectively. Ki powers can only be used if the monk is wearing no armor or shield and carries no more than a medium load. As long as a monk’s ki pool isn’t empty, she may use all of her supernatural abilities (except Slow Fall, Ki Strike and Diamond Soul which are always active). A monk’s ki powers are described under separate entries below. Unless indicated, all abilities that require an expenditure of ki power are done as swift actions.

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    The core concept of my original Monk revision was the ki mechanic (which I shamelessly ripped off borrowed from Pathfinder and Complete Adventurer's Ninja), and I liked the revision I did to it (making it allow abilities that last for minutes instead of 1-round abilities). Removing it would be a bit odd, given that the Monk can use more of these abilities now. I find the ki mechanic for supernatural boosts elegant because it both limits the monk's abilities and reduces a great deal of book-keeping by having many of the per-day abilities coming from a single pool.


    Way of the Elements: At 2nd level, a monk must choose a style of martial arts that represents her perspective upon the world, based upon one of the four elements. Her choice of element determines the ability score in which she will focus, as well as which combat maneuvers she has preference for. The elements are described as follows:

    Air: the monk that chooses the way of Air is fleet like the wind, developing a swift and deadly style. When attacking with unarmed strikes or special monk weapons, she may use her Dexterity modifier instead of her Strength modifier for her attack rolls and damage rolls. She may also use her Dexterity modifier instead of her Strength modifier when making a disarm or trip check.

    Earth: the monk that chooses the way of Earth is strong like stone, developing a deadly style that allows for greater resilience. The monk may use her Constitution modifier instead of her Wisdom modifier to determine her bonus to AC, her ki pool and other monk abilities that depend on Wisdom (including the Stunning Fist feat, if she so chooses). She may also use her Constitution modifier instead of her Strength modifier when grappling.

    Fire: the monk that chooses the way of Fire focuses on overwhelming her enemy through sheer force, consuming her opponents as she passes. The monk adds 1-1/2 times her Strength modifier to the damage rolls with her unarmed strikes or special monk weapons (twice her Strength modifier if using a quarterstaff or another two-handed special monk weapon). She may also use her Strength modifier instead of her Wisdom modifier to determine her ki pool and the DC of various monk abilities (including the Stunning Fist feat, if she so chooses).

    Water: the monk that chooses the way of Water is constantly in motion, receding back and striking with greater strength once she returns. When attacking with unarmed strikes or special monk weapons, she may use her Wisdom modifier instead of her Strength modifier for her attack rolls and damage rolls. She may also use her Wisdom modifier instead of her Strength modifier when making bull rush, overrun or trip checks.
    By expending a daily use of her ki power, the monk may sheathe her fists in elemental energy. For a number of rounds equal to half her class level (rounded up), all attacks the monk makes with her unarmed strikes deal an extra 1d6 points of damage of an energy type related to the path she has chosen (air=electricity, earth=acid, water=cold). The monk may expend daily uses of her Stunning Fist feat (if she has them), but this effect lasts only for 1 round; at 5th level it lasts for 2 rounds and at 10th level it lasts for 3 rounds.

    At 10th level, the monk may choose a secondary element to follow, but only for purposes of sheathing her fists in elemental energy. Thus, a 10th level monk may have chosen Earth as the primary element (and thus focuses on Constitution) and Fire as the secondary element (but does not gain any other benefit from Strength).

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    As you may have seen, references to this ability exist before it even comes into play, and thus you must consider very carefully which element to follow.

    First, an introduction: one of the nicest things that DDO gave to the Monk was the ability to enter stances and use maneuvers, opening the way to actual stances and maneuvers through the use of ki.

    However, it would be troubling to translate this to tabletop D&D for many reasons. For starters, it would dabble too much on the concept of the Swordsage, what with elemental damage strikes that deal 1d6-4d6 points of damage, or the requirement to hit many enemies in order to recharge your ki points, or super-stances that increase your stats and whatnot... Thus, the idea was altered radically to provide a similar effect but using actual DDO mechanics. This is, in simple terms, the retool of a retool.

    For starters, your choice of element determines your main stat. Fire Monks have Strength as a primary stat, and thus they are best for pure damage dealing. Earth Monks work best as tanks, hence their Constitution modifier applies to AC and many other things (such as save DCs for Stunning Fist and whatnot), but not for their offensive qualities. Wind Monks would work best as skirmishers, using Dexterity as their actual main stat. Meanwhile, Water Monks use Wisdom as their main stat, and have a good balance between offense (attack & damage, save DCs) and defense (AC, Will saves). Intelligence and Charisma are left out of the equation, but may appear as ACFs.

    Not just that, but you get the ability to enchant your fists to deal elemental damage, right from 1st level. The time this buff lasts is small, but considerable when you realize it's a swift action ability that lasts for rounds once it progresses. The Stunning Fist equivalence is a nice treat if you manage to get that feat on your own (or if you choose Meditation of War and you need some way to expend those daily uses of Stunning Fist).

    At 10th level, since it's pretty obvious that focusing on one element will be detrimental, you have access to two elements you can choose. That way, you can freely choose Fire as your primary element, and when things get rough, you switch to Earth and then deal acid damage but still get the benefits of the elemental way. You'll also get your secondary element to apply to the abilities you acquire from The Way Between the Ways.


    Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level or higher if a monk makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a monk is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless monk does not gain the benefit of evasion.

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    Legacy ability. 'Nuff said. Though, Earth Monks would do well with Mettle instead of Evasion, but they still require a good Dexterity and they have nice Reflex saves, so anything that reduces physical damage is a bonus.


    Wholeness of Body (Su): At 2nd level or higher, a monk can heal her own wounds with nothing but a thought. As a swift action, the monk can heal a number of hit points of damage equal to her current class level times her Wisdom modifier (Constitution for Earth monks, Strength for Fire monks); she may choose to spend all points at once or spread them on several uses, but she replenishes her pool of healing at the beginning of a new combat encounter.
    If the monk expends a daily use of her ki power when activating the wholeness of body ability, she gains an increased benefit based on her choice of element. This benefit lasts for 1 round, plus 1 round for every five class levels:

    Air: +5 dodge bonus on AC and Reflex saving throws
    Earth: damage reduction 5/adamantine
    Fire: +5 competence bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls
    Water: +5 bonus on all saving throws

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    Taking a cue from the Project Heretica Paladin and the retooled Healer, Wholeness of Body was improved to become a strong "second wind" ability. For starters, it's a huge healing boost which can be used all at once or spreaded through multiple uses. The new trait is how you can use ki to further enhance that small boost with a surprisingly strong benefit, which lasts for a very short time (1 round at first, 5 rounds at 20th, and so on). The idea is that, even as a swift-action healing ability, if that lasted only for 1 round then it would be pretty pointless, so you gain a really worthwhile "second wind" ability for when things get rough, even though at the end you might just use it to heal a minor wound.


    Way of the Beast: At 3rd level, a monk expands her vision of life by emulating the traits of animals. Her chosen way teaches her skills of great utility in her path towards perfection.
    The monk may choose between one of the following animal-related abilities. Each way provides certain bonuses which can be improved by expending daily uses of ki. At 6th level and every three levels afterwards, the monk may choose the same ability to improve her bonus or choose a new ability. The monk may gain further benefits if she progresses through the same path more than once.

    Clever Monkey: As the monkey leaps amongst trees to evade ground hazards, so does the monk leaps her way from hazards and seeks the upper ground. The monk gains a +2 bonus on all Climb checks and the trap sense ability as a rogue. Every time she chooses this ability, her bonus to Climb checks increase by 2 and her trap sense bonus increases by 1. By expending a daily use of ki, the monk gains the benefit of the spider climb spell cast by a sorcerer of half her class level, but her climb speed is equal to half her base land speed instead.

    Devious Predator: The best hunters never reveal themselves until their prey is already within their grasp, or dead; the monk focuses her training into becoming undetectable. The monk gains a +5 bonus to Hide and Move Silently checks, but only to cancel the penalties for movement; if this path is chosen three times or more, the bonus applies to attacks as well (including charges). By expending a daily use of her ki power, she gains the benefit of an invisibility spell cast by a sorcerer of half her class level; if she chooses this ability three times or more, she may remain invisible after attacking for the first few rounds of activation (as if a greater invisibility spell had been cast by a sorcerer of half her class level).

    Elegant Crane: The crane's natural elegance reinforces the monk's poise, instilling strength upon her words and weakening the mental resolve of her opponents. The monk gains a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks when speaking as a full-round action (instead of a minute); for every time this ability is chosen, the monk learns to speak, write and understand a new language of her choice (as if she had spent a rank on Speak Language; once this choice is made, it is permanent and may not be changed). By expending a daily use of her ki power, the monk may make a suggestion as the spell cast by a sorcerer of her class level, except the saving throw DC is equal to the result of her Diplomacy check minus 10.

    Faithful Hound: Much like the dog or the wolf, the monk's senses are capable of catching the most minuscule detail to alert her allies. The monk gains a +2 bonus on all reflexive Listen and Spot checks (those checks done as part of a free action). If she chooses this ability two times, she gains uncanny dodge; if she chooses this ability three times or more, the monk gains improved uncanny dodge instead, except a rogue must be four levels higher than her monk level plus levels in any other class that grants uncanny dodge. By expending a daily use of her ki ability, she gains the scent quality for a number of minutes equal to 10 times her class level, and she may apply her bonuses to Listen and Spot on her Survival checks; as well, she is considered as if having the Track feat (if she already has it, she gains a further +2 bonus on Survival checks to track the enemy).

    Graceful Swan: The swan masters air, water and even ground with incomparable grace; the monk likewise masters combat and grace whether in firm ground or in flowing water. She gains a +2 bonus on all Swim checks for every three class levels. When holding her breath, the monk adds her ranks in Concentration, any bonus to Concentration checks, and twice the bonus to Constitution checks; may make Concentration checks instead of Constitution checks after said period, and she may battle underwater without losing rounds of air. By expending a daily use of her ki power as a swift action, the monk gains the effect of a water breathing spell cast by a cleric of her class level and a swim speed equal to half her base land speed for the same amount of time.

    Leaping Dragon: The dragon does not leap, but when taking flight, it impulses towards the air with unearthly grace, and soars upon the air as a lance thrust towards the heavens; in such way, the monk emulates the dragon's supremacy over air. A monk gains a +2 bonus on Jump checks and is always considered as making a running leap, even if she does not run; if she does, she gains a +10 bonus on the Jump check. If she chooses this ability three times or more, when making a Jump check for a high jump, the number of feet she may leap is equal to twice the result of her check (instead of four times her result) and has no maximum reach; if she uses a quarterstaff or a polearm with reach (such as a ranseur), she adds 5 feet to her leaping distance. If she makes a Jump check as part of a charge she adds 2 points of damage for each time this ability is chosen. By expending a daily use of her ki power as a swift action whenever she is 10 ft. over the ground, the monk gains the benefit of the levitate spell as a sorcerer of her class level, except she cannot move vertically or horizontally except as part of a Jump check or allowing herself to fall. A monk following the way of the Leaping Dragon that gains the ability to walk in air (see Walk the River and the Clouds, below) may activate her levitating ability and her air-walking ability by expending only 1 daily use of ki (instead of two).

    Patient Tortoise: The tortoise moves at its own pace and allows nothing to distract it from moving forward; in the same way, the monk moves slowly but surely upon her path, drawing upon the resilience of the tortoise whenever afflictions hinder her way. The monk gains 3 hit points and a +1 bonus on her Concentration checks each time she chooses this ability. By expending one daily use of ki as a swift action, the monk may make a Concentration check instead of a Fortitude or Will save once per round for the remainder of the encounter.

    Sagacious Owl: The owl is a symbol of wisdom for it sees beyond the veil of reality and into the mists of the unknown; the monk draws upon the reserves of knowledge of the owl to find solutions to her questions. The monk may make Knowledge checks as if she had 1 rank in them (even if she has no ranks) and gains a +2 bonus on all Knowledge checks. The monk may use her Wisdom modifier instead of her Intelligence modifier (if higher) to make Knowledge checks. If the monk chooses this ability three times or more, she gains the lore ability (as the loremaster class ability) except the bonus on her rolls is equal to her class level plus her Wisdom modifier. By expending a daily use of her ki power she may duplicate the effect of a legend lore spell cast by a sorcerer of her class level, but you must have the object or person at hand (thus, it always takes at least 1d4x10 minutes) and you may gain knowledge of creatures with an effective character level or Challenge Rating equal to the monk's class level -4 or 11, whichever is higher.

    Tenacious Badger: The badger suffers no fool that dare enters its territory; at the cost of patience, the monk can draw incredible reserves of strength and ferocity. The monk gains a +2 bonus to her Intimidate checks for every three class levels to demoralize her enemies; if her hit points reach 50% or lower, she applies this bonus to all her damage rolls until she receives healing that takes her above this amount. By expending a daily use of her ki power as a swift action, the monk may enter a rage (as the barbarian's class feature) for a number of rounds equal to half her class level; she is treated as a barbarian of three levels lower to determine the bonuses of her rage and class features that augment her rage (such as indomitable will).

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    One of the things I wanted to achieve was how to make a Monk mechanically distinct from a Swordsage without stepping on its toes. It's really hard to deal with a Swordsage, because they can do many things in battle, and they have a large number of skill points.

    However, when you think about it, aside from Concentration and Jump, there are little things a swordsage can do outside of battle. Sure, they get Intimidate and Listen, but they're no better at it than other classes. Since your feats are focused towards making your combat skills better, it's pretty evident that you might not have the chance to get Imperious Command or, say, Quick Reconnoiter to enhance those skills. After watching some of the Monk enhancements in DDO, I figured that boosting them much as I did with combat styles allowed me to reinforce the skill portion of the Monk.

    The idea behind each "way of the beast" is to reinforce a single skill (or set of skills, such as Listen & Spot, or all Knowledge skills) to widen the options a Monk has outside of battle, and at times even inside of battle. A Monk that chooses Clever Monkey isn't just a master climber, but also a formidable trapfinder (though not trap disabler); a master of Sagacious Owl, on the other hand, holds knowledge in various topics, making it resemble the Western Monk archetype. When using ki, you get an enhanced version of the ability that simulates becoming that beast. A character that chooses six different ways of beasts has six different abilities, whereas one that focuses on a single way becomes a master in that skill. Ideally, of course, you can "master" up to two ways, so most of the "advanced" benefits are acquired only if you choose to advance a single way more than once, hence why many advanced abilities appear after choosing once and advancing twice.

    If you consider Martial Training, Elemental Way and Way of the Beasts, it's very hard to make a Monk identical to another, which was the idea. Even just going with Way of the Beasts, you have about nine different kinds of Monks, and that's without working the many different combinations you can achieve just by dipping into another way. As you can see, the number of build options implies a great deal of complexity when building them; this is to prize those who have mastery over the system. I want you to see if this can be simplified for those roleplayers at heart, who may be willing to choose a feat because it fits their background, so that they don't feel overwhelmed but at the same time they have a functional character.


    Fast Movement (Ex): At 3rd level, a monk gains a bonus to her land speed, as shown on the table above. A monk in armor or carrying a medium or heavy load loses this extra speed. A monk that follows the way of Air or Water gains a further +10 bonus to land speed, while a monk that follows the way of Earth has a movement bonus of 10 feet less (and thus gain this ability at 6th level).

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    Fast Movement has a slight difference, to allow synergies with Elemental Way. Your choice of element determines if your character is faster or slower. Note, of course, that the bonus is not extraordinary, so it stacks with Haste. Yay!


    Fleeting Step (Su): At 3rd level, a monk may expend one daily use of her ki power as a swift action to move up to her land speed. A monk that follows the way of Air may move an extra 10 ft. A monk that follows the way of Fire gains concealment for 1 round.

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    Having mobility as one of the main benefits of the class, and since all martial classes could use a "move and full attack" option that doesn't necessarily HAS to be pounce, this ability allows you to expend some of your resources for when you need to deliver a brutal smackdown. Fire Monks get a better benefit, because getting to move and 20% miss chance as a swift action is fascinating, but also because otherwise they'd lack suitable options to make them attractive.


    (More stuff on next page. You may notice this will be a LONG class...)
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; Yesterday at 03:22 PM. Reason: Fixing tables

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk (post 2)

    Touching the Ripples (Ex & Su): At 3rd level, a monk gains a preternatural awareness that allows her to feel the emotions of her opponents, sensing their presence even at the loss of sight. The monk gains blindsense to a distance of 30 feet (defeated by sound), which can be activated or deactivated as a free action (by closing her eyes). If the monk already has blindsense (by means of a racial ability, for example), the range of her blindsense increases by an extra 30 feet. By spending a daily use of her ki power, she may instead gain blindsight (also defeated by sound), but limited to 30 feet (regardless of whether she originally has blindsense or not), for a number of rounds equal to half her class level. A monk that follows the way of Water may sense creatures even within an area of silence; a monk that follows the way of Earth also gains tremorsense (and she may detect enemies touching the ground or any wall with her blindsight).
    At 13th level, a monk gains permanent blindsight (defeated by sound) to a distance of 30 feet, and her blindsense (and tremorsense) extends to a distance of 60 feet. If she already has blindsight (by means of a racial ability, for example), her blindsight instead increases by an extra 30 feet. If she had blindsense by any means other than this class ability (such as a racial ability, her range doubles instead. If she expends a daily use of her ki power, her blindsight extends an extra 30 feet (this replaces the original ability).
    The monk's permanent blindsense ability and permanent blindsight ability are considered extraordinary abilities, but abilities acquired by expending a daily use of ki are considered supernatural abilities. This is an exception to the rule that blindsight is always an extraordinary ability.

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    One of the things I wanted to conquer with the earlier Monk was miss chances and illusion-based non-AC defenses. Mirror Image, Blur and Displacement can and WILL be a hassle, and if you're fighting a tier 1 character and expect to be a spellcaster hunter, you'd be out of luck without this ability, unless you...erm, use a magic item.

    Blindsense might be kinda weak (unless you work with the Invisible Eye combat style, which has a nice synergy with this ability), but it's no slouch. Just the ability to sense the enemy is surprisingly good enough. However, eventual blindsight gets real good, particularly at the range, since it completely negates the benefits of non-AC defenses barring the Darkstalker feat.

    Last time I made a fun quip, I mentioned you had technical immunity to blindness. As you can see, this "technicality" has to be explained, because you don't become immune to blindness; you merely ignore its worst effects once you get blindsight, but you're still affected nonetheless (so no Spot checks). This is because invalidating Invisible Eye is a big no-no, but having the ability to strike as if you could see by relying on other senses rather than sight IS the very nature of Invisible Eye, so denying that benefit would be troublesome. Hence, while you're not invulnerable to blindness, you can be affected and gain a benefit from it.


    Art of the Deadly Wind (Ex): At 4th level, the monk’s expertise with martial arts improves. When she uses seemingly weak ranged attacks, her strikes are much more lethal and reach a greater distance than usual.
    When the monk uses a dart, a sling, or a shuriken, the monk deals damage with the weapon as if she was using an unarmed strike, but of a monk of her level -3 (thus, she deals 1d6 points of damage if Medium). These weapons are not treated as if they were unarmed strikes for purposes of the ki strike ability (see below). As well, her range increment is equal to 50 ft. if it doesn’t have that range increment already; at every 4 levels after the 4th, the range increment of the weapon increases by 10 ft.
    Depending on the elemental way she follows, the monk may gain certain extra abilities:

    Air: the range increment of the weapon increases by a further 10 feet every 4 levels. She adds her Dexterity modifier to her damage rolls. She may draw sling bullets, darts and shuriken as if she had the Quick Draw feat, but only for these weapons.

    Earth: the monk may deal damage with darts, sling bullets, shuriken and stones (if used with a sling) and use her full unarmed strike damage. In the case of stones thrown from slings, she gains no penalty to attack rolls and she deals damage as if the stone was of a creature her size.

    Fire: the monk adds 1-1/2 times her Strength modifier to damage rolls with these weapons, and may use her Strength modifier instead of her Dexterity modifier for attack rolls.

    Water: the monk uses her Wisdom modifier instead of her Strength or Dexterity modifier for attack and damage rolls with these weapons.
    If the campaign has the following available, the monk may provide the benefits of this ability to the following weapons: blowgun, greater blowgun.

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    Art of the Deadly Wind, alongside Deadly Weapons, were some of the class abilities I designed to make special monk weapons and simple weapons deadly in the hands of the Monk. By tying them to the Elemental Way chosen by the Monk at 2nd level, I've definitely made a memorable class ability that can't be replicated by a feat, because of its complexity. Parts of it could be replicated by means of feats, but would be considered weak by any means.

    Try to differ when a Monk gets a simple stone and hurls it 50 ft. across, dealing damage almost as if it were its own fist.

    This ability was designed with the idea that the Monk had very few ranged options, and by these levels flying enemies would incapacitate them. By relying on the simplest weapons around, the Monk gains a solid ranged option for cheap, and sometimes even for free (in the case of using stones for slings).

    Art of the Deadly Wind, though, is limited to core weapons, hence the dart, sling (both bullets and stones) and shuriken. You're welcome to add other weapons, such as the orc shotput or the halfling skiprock, so as long as they can be treated as special monk weapons. A halfling with a specialization in thrown weapons may become a deadly opponent, particularly with skiprocks and their ricochet ability. The idea, of course, is to make them special monk weapons, which is left to the DM's decision.


    Ki Strike (Su): At 4th level, a monk’s unarmed attacks are empowered with ki. Her unarmed attacks are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction. Ki strike improves with the character’s monk level. At 8th level, her unarmed attacks are also treated as lawful weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction. At 12th level, her unarmed attacks are treated as adamantine weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction and bypassing hardness).
    Furthermore, starting from 4th level the monk’s unarmed attacks are more accurate and strong. A 4th level monk gains a +1 bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls when attacking with an unarmed strike; this bonus increases by 1 every four levels. Treat this bonus as an enhancement bonus for purposes of which abilities stack with it (thus, a 4th level monk wouldn’t benefit from magic weapon or magic fang, but it could take benefit from greater magic weapon or greater magic fang if it so desires).

    By expending several daily uses of her ki power, a monk’s ki strike temporarily improves. At 4th level, the monk may spend one daily use to increase the bonus on attack and damage rolls from her unarmed strikes by 1 (but the bonus cannot exceed +5 until 20th level). At 8th level, the monk may spend two daily uses to grant her unarmed strikes gain the lawful weapon special ability, and at 12th level she may spend three daily use to grant her weapons ignore all kinds of damage reduction. These enhancements are cumulative (a monk need only spend two daily uses to gain the enhancement bonus and the lawful special ability, and three daily uses for all effects), and last for a period of rounds equal to half her class level. If the monk gains the lawful special quality or the ability to ignore all damage reduction as an enhancement, she need only spend one or two daily uses of ki and gain the remaining enhancements.

    If a class progresses ki strike, levels in monk stack with levels in that class to determine the effective enhancement bonus with unarmed strikes, but not with the other provided abilities (such as bypassing DR or ki expenditures). A monk cannot extend her ki strike ability to her natural weapons (unarmed strikes are not considered as natural weapons for these purposes, nor slam attacks).

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    While drawn almost verbatim from the earlier version of the Monk, ki strike has gained some significative changes.

    The most important is that the Monk's unarmed strikes finally gain an enhancement bonus progression, which can be upgraded using ki into a higher enhancement bonus. No longer you need to worry about your unarmed strikes being mundane, as they will count as +1 weapons often before the rest of the party gets +1 weapons (with the lucky exceptions, of course). The second is the inclusion of slam weapons into the ki strike: this is so that Warforged Monks and other non-humanoid Monks with slam attacks gain their benefits. The reason why it wasn't added to other natural weapons was because it would make a 4 level Monk dip phenomenal for various characters holding loads of natural weapons (particularly Monk/Totemists). Slams, being pretty close to unarmed strikes, are fair play though.

    Otherwise, the ki enhancements remain pretty similar. A stacking +1 enhancement bonus, the axiomatic property and the ability to bypass all DR are solid traits even for their apparently excessive ki cost (3 for all three abilities).


    Slow Fall (Ex or Su): At 4th level or higher, a monk takes damage from any fall as if it were shorter. The amount of distance reduced by this ability is shown on the table above. As well, a monk may expend one daily use of her ki pool as an immediate action to gain the effect of a feather fall spell; this latter ability is a supernatural ability. A monk that follows the way of Air adds 10 feet to the distance she may fall safely; a monk that follows the way of Earth takes one less dice of damage while falling.

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    Not many changes from the core version aside from the addition of ki to use Feather Fall (which was in the earlier revision). The main difference is the addition of synergies with Air and Earth Monks, which have essentially the same ability but applying in a different way: reducing 10 ft. and reducing one die of damage are the same thing, but they apply this differently. That I leave you to figure out.


    Purity of Body (Ex):
    At 5th level, a monk gains immunity to all poisons and diseases.

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    Legacy ability, simple, easy, so why bother removing it? Unless you can find a way to make it quite strong without it being an immunity. Sickening and nausea could count as well.


    Unburdened Path (Su): At 5th level, a monk may spend one daily use of her ki power as a swift action to ignore any effects that hamper or impede movement, as if having a freedom of movement spell cast upon itself, until the next round. At 14th level, the effect lasts instead for a number of rounds equal to half her class level. A monk following the way of Air or Water doubles the duration of this ability.

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    Another ability devised in the earlier revision, Unburdened Path is meant to protect the Monk against crowd control spells and abilities. One round (two for Air and Water Monks) may seem like too little, but it synergizes well with the Monk's mobility. At 14th level, however, the extension is worthy enough to bypass some of the most serious locking spells around (Evard's Black Tentacles, I'm looking at you!).

    Some people may chafe of seeing so many technical immunities, but this form of immunity is tied to what makes spellcasters so powerful. By balancing FoM, you can balance this ability as well. It becomes a creative immunity, rather than a fixed, unbalanced one.


    Bonus Feat: At 6th level and every 5 levels, a monk gains a bonus feat. The monk may choose from the list of fighter bonus feats. A monk is considered as a fighter of her class level -2 for feats that have a fighter level prerequisite.

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    As with the earlier revision, this is to allow Monks to be less feat-starved and make a better build for combat purposes. This opens general feat slots for non-combat purposes, which may open the door to domain feats (Travel!!) or any other feat you consider worthwhile. The effective Fighter level is there so that you can take stuff like Weapon Supremacy...actually, not really; it's just in case I post my feat retoolings, of which the [Fighter] feats rely upon for their scaling.

    Yes, I said it. Scaling feats based on your effective Fighter level. No, not initiator level; Fighter level. Even if I mentioned Fighter has no solution.


    Philosophy (Su): At 6th level, the monk chooses a philosophy to follow. This philosophy grants her the ability to harness her power to advance her cause. Once a philosophy is chosen, the decision is permanent and may not be changed.

    Path of Harmonious Balance: a monk that follows the Path of Harmonious Balance seeks peace with the world. Normally, only lawful good monks and a group of lawful neutral monks choose this path, but the path is not tied to a specific alignment (aside from the monk's lawful alignment); a lawful evil monk may find the utility of peace with the world to further her own means. A monk that chooses this feat exudes an aura of peace, forcing all creatures that make melee attacks against the monk to make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the monk's class level + the monk's Wisdom modifier; Earth monks use Constitution, Fire monks use Strength) or fail to proceed with the attack and deny the opponent the ability to make melee attacks against it (as the sanctuary spell, except it is constantly active). A successful Will save negates the benefit, and the benefit is negated for the remainder of the encounter if the monk engages in combat (by making a melee or ranged attack, casting a spell if it knows any, or executing any special combat maneuver except grappling or tripping, and the monk may not deal damage while grappling). By expending a daily use of her ki power as a standard action, the monk may emit a burst of healing that cures all allies within 30 feet a number of hit points equal to 1d4 for every two class levels after the 5th (2d4 at 7th level, 3d4 at 9th level, and so forth).

    Path of Ineffable Dominion: a monk that follows the Path of Inevitable Dominion seeks to unify the world upon her discipline. Normally, only lawful evil monks and a group of lawful neutral monks choose this path, but the path is not tied to a specific alignment (aside from the monk's lawful alignment); a lawful monk may seek to unify the world within a fair and just discipline and is generally accepting of those who dissent with her. A monk that chooses this path gains the frightful presence ability (as that of a dragon), but the save DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 the monk's class level + the monk's Wisdom modifier (Earth monks use Constitution, Fire monks use Strength), and affects all creatures of a Challenge Rating equal or lower than the monk's level +2. By expending a daily use of her ki power as a swift action, whenever the monk makes a successful attack, the enemy must succeed on a Fortitude saving throw (DC equal to her frightful presence ability) or become fatigued; if the target becomes fatigued or exhausted, the monk gains a number of temporary hit points equal to 5+the creature's Hit Dice, that last for a number of rounds equal to half her class level. These temporary hit points do not stack, but overlap. This benefit lasts for a number of rounds equal to half her class level.

    Path of the Riddle of Equilibrium: a monk that follows the Path of Inevitable Equilibrium follows an inevitable axiom of the universe; good and evil cannot exist within each other. A great deal of lawful neutral monks follow this path, but the path itself is not tied to alignment (aside from the monk's lawful alignment); lawful good or lawful evil monks may recognize this fundamental axiom and reach peace with the unusual understanding they receive. A monk that chooses this path is treated as if it were both good and evil for purposes of spells and effects that target alignment, regardless of actual alignment; in the case a spell varies based on alignment, the monk is treated as if it were of the most beneficial alignment (thus, a monk that follows this path may use weapons enchanted with the holy or unholy special quality without receiving negative levels). By expending a daily use of her ki power as a swift action as part of an attack, the target of the attack is subject to a targeted dispel magic effect as if cast by a cleric of the monk's class level, except the limit to the dispel check bonus is 20.

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    Here's the fourth column of Monk customization: philosophies. Also taken pretty straight from DDO, philosophies are meant to expand the variety of options a Monk has by making them a support class or a pure DPS class. This is tabletop, though, so things must differ. Hence, a third option is added (for 50% more customization!) and their definitions cleared up so that they have a strong roleplaying feel.

    Monks that follow the Path of Harmonious Balance (deceptive name, eh?) seek to be passive. You may think that this implies being good, and to an extent Light Monks (the nickname they are given in DDO) work that way, but an evil Monk can definitely be a passive character. Lawful Evil is the epitome of passive evil, if good ol' Tarquin hasn't proven in a masterful class. Passivity in this case isn't really "I won't hit my enemy" but rather "I won't hit my enemy unless he asks for it, and I will make it so that he doesn't ask for it". Sanctuary as an aura is a perfect example of it: if the enemy decides not to attack you, then there's no need to attack them.

    Monks that follow the Path of Ineffable Dominion seek to be aggressive. As with the Light Monks, the Dark Monks may have a strong evil feel, but that's not the case; anti-heroes sometimes are aggressive but kind-hearted, ready to enter the fisticuffs against anyone except children, old ladies and those whom they consider weak and in need of protection. However, when they fight...which is why frightful presence is perfect for them. The draining attack they get by expending ki leads to the second part of the philosophy: they are so aggressive, they weaken people just by being nearby.

    Monks that follow the Path of the Riddle of Equilibrium, in that aspect, seek balance between passivity and aggressivity. Balance Monks (cute name, eh?) are definitely Neutral in philosophical terms, but that doesn't mean they MUST be Lawful Neutral in alignment; what it means is that there's a notable inclination. Their ki ability (a targeted Greater Dispel Magic by any other name) exemplifies this concept of balance everywhere, because a super-buffed character may eventually end up clearly unbuffed and ready for the next, deadly strike of the Monk. However, you'll notice most of the Balance Monk's abilities are buffs, which in a way are methods to serve balance: if the enemy is buffed, so will your allies, which will technically level the playing field.


    Still Mind (Su): A monk of 6th level or higher may expend a daily use of her ki power as an immediate action to become immune to spells and effects with the fear or mind-affecting descriptor until her next round. A monk that follows the way of Earth instead becomes immune to spells and effects with such descriptors for a number of rounds equal to half her class level. A monk that follows the way of Fire not only becomes immune to fear or mind-affecting effects, but also reflects the effect back to the caster or user (thus, if a Fire monk were to be affected by a phantasmal killer spell, she returns it to the caster).

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    Still Mind makes its appearance a bit later, but it's definitely better than the original. A brief chance of becoming immune to spells and effects with the fear or mind-affecting descriptor nulls just about the other half of nullifying tactics usable by enemies, so it's pretty obvious that people may see this and cry foul.

    Of course, the very nature of having a single pool of abilities powering this balances this out. This methodical restriction advises moderation in the uses, because going nova in a single battle at early levels because you just wanted to be immune to everything eventually hinders you. Hence, why I like the concept of ki so much: it's a pool of daily uses that power various abilities, but it will always get used, unlike other methods of providing daily uses which will eventually get spares because the build is so carefully crafted you'll rarely use them. And, with good saves and stuff, only those with horrible Will saves will rely on them.


    Resilient Body (Su):
    At 7th level, a monk is capable of strengthening her mind to partially ignore the effect of the elements in her body, but at a very limited scale. She gains resistance 10 to the energy type related to her choice of elemental way (Air= electricity, Earth= acid, Water= cold). By expending a daily use of her ki power, her elemental resistance increases by 10 points for a number of rounds equal to her class levels.
    At 11th level, her resistance with the energy type related to her elemental way increases to 20, and she gains resistance 10 against all other energy types except sonic and that which opposes her elemental way (Air opposes Earth, Fire opposes Water, and viceversa). Expending a daily use of her ki power increases the energy resistance of her choice by 10 points instead of only the energy type related to her elemental way, but this does not allow her to increase her energy resistance with her opposing element. This increase applies to any type of energy resistance, not just the one gained from this ability.
    At 15th level, her resistance with all energy types except sonic increase by 10 (including the energy type related to her opposing element), and spending a daily use of her ki power increases her resistance with all energy types except sonic by 10.

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    Just to make it clear: you can't get Sonic Resistance by means of this ability. This only works with the four "classic" energy types.

    Having said that, the earlier revision of the Monk in its very first incarnation (before all the v2.00 patching) didn't have energy resistance. This was a bad idea, because despite their high Reflexes and Evasion, if the enemy struck you with a no-fail energy attack, you were screwed. You had to rely on potions or, worse, magic items to stave that off. This is a breather to that, because you get some degree of innate energy resistance which relates to your choices of element, but always leaving a "weakness" to cover.

    The ki power-up of Resilient Body, however, can make some people cringe. Technically, this is the only instance where you'll see energy resistance above 30, since activating the ki power-up at 15th level or more will grant you energy resistance 40 against your primary element, because of the stacking nature of the power-up. That also means it stacks with other forms of energy resistance, so you can have two, three, or even FOUR resistances to energy types over 40, which is a very solid amount of damage reduction. You'll probably notice why I left sonic behind...


    Deadly Weapons (Ex): At 8th level, a monk can use certain weapons with such grace, that she can deliver far deadlier blows than others who pursue her arts.
    When using a club, kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai or siangham, the monk deals damage with the weapon as if she was using an unarmed strike, but of a monk of her level -3 (thus, she deals 1d8 points of damage if Medium). These weapons are not treated as if they were unarmed strikes for purposes of the ki strike ability (see above). As well, she gains a special ability when using any of these weapons:

    Club: a monk may use a club to deliver daily uses of her Stunning Fist feat (if she has it).

    Kama: upon a successful trip attempt, the monk may deal damage with the kama as if she had succeeded on a melee attack, but she only deals half the damage she would have usually dealt. This applies even if she has the Improved Trip feat.

    Nunchaku or Sai: when using a disarm attempt, the monk may decide to “lock” the weapon instead of merely disarming. She may make this special disarm attempt even when her enemy uses natural weapons, but it applies only to one such natural weapon (thus, if the enemy has two claws, she may apply this effect only to one of the claws). Until the creature attempts to move away from the monk, the creature may not use this weapon, nor the monk may use her nunchaku or sai (but she may still use her unarmed strikes if she so desires); if the creature wields a manufactured weapon and attempts to move away, the monk may force another disarm attempt to remove the weapon from the creature’s hands.

    Quarterstaff: the monk may use a quarterstaff as a reach weapon if she so desires. If she has the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, she may not fight with the quarterstaff as a double weapon and apply the reach; only one or the other. However, her damage with both ends of the weapon increases as indicated above.

    Siangham: the monk may use a feint attempt with a siangham. She may use her base attack bonus plus her Wisdom modifier or her Bluff check plus her Wisdom modifier for the feint, whichever is higher (Earth monks use Constitution, Fire monks use Strength). She may use this special feint with the siangham as a swift action, and the loss of the creature’s Dexterity modifier to AC applies to all attacks she makes until the end of her turn (thus, she may apply this to a single attack, or to a full attack action).

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    Round 2 of "how to make special monk weapons actually special", and this one is pretty nice.

    You'll notice the club was added as a special monk weapon, the rough equivalent of the stone thrown on a sling (since you can find a club lying just about anywhere, that means you'll get very nice stuff from it, particularly if a friendly spellcaster adds Greater Mighty Wallop+Greater Mighty Weapon and/or Shillelagh.

    This was another ability I devised to power-up special monk weapons, and I hope it shows. This makes choosing a kama instead of an unarmed strike a useful change, even if it has one dice of damage less than the strike itself, as well as other weapons. It makes its appearance into this retool nearly integral, perhaps with a boost in overall power. The nifty tricks you can pull off, such as the automatic damage when tripping with a kama or the special feinting option of the siangham (thanks, Deadliest Warrior, for showing that cool trick with the emeici!) are meant to make these weapons just as attractive as using an unarmed strike in case you find them lying around, instead of just relying on your punches. Consider this a fifth column of customization, because having a dual-kama wielding Monk combining Two-Weapon Fighting with Improved Trip can be pretty surprising to behold.


    Walk the River and the Clouds (Ex or Su): At 8th level, a monk is capable of leaping and moving with such grace that she seems to move through the air.
    The monk may move upon any kind of liquid, such as water or even acid, without sinking, up to her base land movement speed. Treat as the water walk spell, except the duration is permanent but she must end her movement in a solid surface. If she walks upon acid or lava, she still takes damage because of exposure to them (1d6 acid/2d6 fire points per round of exposure, 10d6 acid/20d6 lava if she becomes immersed completely). She may remain afloat by concentrating as a move action, if she desires. A monk that follows the way of Earth may remain afloat in acid and takes no damage from it; a monk that follows the way of Fire may remain afloat in lava and takes no damage from it; a monk that follows the way of Water may remain afloat in water without sinking unless the monk intends to.

    Furthermore, she gains the ability to move throughout the air as if she was walking on land. Treat as the air walk spell, except the duration is permanent but she must end her movement in a solid surface. She may remain aloft by concentrating as a move action, if she desires, or by grappling a flying creature (in which case she remains aloft so as long as the creature remains on the air). If the monk has the ability to levitate (such as by means of the levitate spell), she can remain aloft so as long as the effect remains, and she may move using this ability as usual. A monk that follows the way of Air may remain floating in air and suffers no penalties because of strong winds.

    If she desires, the monk may instead make a Balance check (instead of concentrating) before moving to remain afloat or aloft, but only to half her base land speed; the skill check DC to succeed is 25 for liquids and 30 for air. The monk may accept a -10 penalty on both checks to move up to her full speed instead. A failed check still allows the monk to concentrate as a move action to remain afloat, as usual.

    If she instead expends one daily use of her ki power, she does not need to retain concentration while moving over a liquid or through the air, but only for a number of minutes equal to 10 per class level of the monk.

    This ability is treated as an extraordinary ability, unless she expends a daily use of her ki power; in that case, the ability to remain afloat or aloft becomes a supernatural action. In the case she enters an antimagic field while using this ability as a supernatural action, she may still remain afloat or aloft, but she must concentrate (or use her Balance check) as usual. Rounds spent in an antimagic field count against the duration of her ability to remain afloat or aloft as a supernatural action, however.

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    Yet another such ability from my earlier revision, this was meant to deal with the problem of fighting in surfaces that enemies could use to establish distance and take advantage of the territory. By making them float in water AND in air with little effort (other than a Balance check to concentrate: you DO remember having a nice amount of ranks in Balance, right?), they can take the battle to where those pesky spellcasters are attempting to hide, and with the added advantage of your mobility. Some options such as the Graceful Swan or Leaping Dragon ways of the beast null some of these benefits, but because all monks need in one way or another to surpass these limits, all Monks get it.

    Of course, that doesn't mean that their choice of Elemental Way won't influence this ability. Monks of Air and Water seem to get the nicer benefits (able to remain still on water or effectively have permanent Air Walk), but those who chose Earth or Fire have a very nice benefit as well (becoming immune to walking on acid or lava, which can cause ridiculous amounts of damage per round).


    Improved Evasion (Ex): At 9th level, a monk’s evasion ability improves. She still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but henceforth she takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless monk does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

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    Not much to say except "legacy ability". However, because both Evasion and Imp. Evasion are on the right levels, it means you can replace them for Spell Reflection or Invisible Fist. Those are two ACFs that basically remain intact.


    The Way Between the Ways (Su):
    At 9th level, the monk's choice of elemental way and philosophy merge, granting her an unusual ability which she may activate by expending one daily use of her ki power (unless otherwise indicated). The monk needs only to follow the indicated element (either primary or secondary) and/or the indicated philosophy to use these abilities; if the monk follows the path of Harmonious Balance or Ineffable Dominion, she may not use an ability of the opposite path regardless of the element chosen. All abilities last for a number of rounds equal to half her character level (unless the effect is of instantaneous duration). All saving throw DCs are based on saving throw DC of the Stunning Fist feat (10 + 1/2 the monk's class level + the monk's Wisdom modifier: Earth monks use Constitution and Fire monks use Strength) and are modified by spells or effects that improve Stunning Fist.

    Aligning the Heavens: all casters within 30 feet of the monk gain a +1 bonus to their caster level. This applies to manifesters, meldshapers and users of mysteries, but not to creatures that use spell-like or psi-like abilities. Martial adepts that use maneuvers or stances that depend on initiator level are treated as if their initiator level was one higher instead. To use this ability, the monk must follow the way of Water or the Path of the Riddle of Equilibrium.

    All-Consuming Flame: as part of a melee attack or when activating the benefit of the Path of Ineffable Dominion, the monk may force the enemy to succeed on a Reflex save or catch on fire, except the damage increases by 1d6 points of damage for every 3 class levels. This ability works regardless of whether the target can catch fire or not. To use this ability, the monk must follow the way of Fire or the Path of Ineffable Dominion.

    Dance of the Clouds: all allies within 30 feet of the monk gain concealment, as if they were under the effect of a blur spell. To use this ability, the monk must follow the way of Air or the Path of the Riddle of Equilibrium.

    Difficulty at the Beginning: the monk can remove fatigue, exhaustion and ability damage as if using a lesser restoration spell on all allies within 30 ft (or as part of the healing burst ability of the Path of Harmonious Balance). To use this ability, the monk must follow the way of Water or the Path of Harmonious Balance.

    Grasp the Earth Dragon: all allies within 30 feet of the monk gain immunity to daze, stun and sleep. To use this ability, the monk must follow the way of Earth or the Path of the Riddle of Equilibrium.

    Lifting the Veil: the monk can remove blindness or deafness as if using a remove blindness/deafness spell on all allies within 30 ft (or as part of the healing burst ability of the Path of Harmonious Balance). To use this ability, the monk must follow the way of Air or the Path of Harmonious Balance.

    Porous Soul: when activating the benefit of Path of Ineffable Dominion, a failed save also causes the target to take a -1 penalty to Armor Class and Fortitude saves for every 3 class levels. To use this ability, the monk must follow the way of Earth or the Path of Ineffable Dominion.

    Restoring the Balance: the monk can remove curses afflicting the target as if using a remove curse spell cast by a cleric of her class level on all allies within 30 ft (or as part of the healing burst ability of the Path of Harmonious Balance). To use this ability, the monk must follow the way of Fire or the Path of Harmonious Balance.

    Static Charge: when touching an enemy or activating the benefit of Path of Ineffable Dominion, a failed save also causes the target to take a -1 penalty to all attack and damage rolls, as well as all saves against stun, for every three levels. To use this ability, the monk must follow the way of Air or the Path of Ineffable Dominion.

    The Receptive Earth: the monk can remove poisons and diseases as if using a remove disease or neutralize poison spell on all allies within 30 ft. (or as part of the bealing burst ability of the Path of Harmonious Balance). To use this ability, the monk must follow the way of Earth or the Path of Harmonious Balance.

    Walk the Sun: all allies within 30 feet of the monk gain a +2 bonus on all attack rolls, saving throws and skill checks as if they received the benefit of a heroism spell except the bonus is untyped. To use this ability, the monk must follow the way of Fire or the Path of the Riddle of Equilibrium.

    Winter's Chill: when touching an enemy or activating the benefit of Path of Ineffable Dominion, a failed save also causes the target to take a -1 penalty to all damage rolls and Reflex saving throws for every 3 levels. To use this ability, the monk must follow the way of Water or the Path of Ineffable Dominion.

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    If you've played DDO, these abilities may seem a bit familiar to you guys. If not...well, these were some of the "finishing moves" of the DDO Monk, but turned into actual abilities.

    You may see that there are many abilities, divided neatly into three stacks of four (one for Light Monks, one for Balance Monks, and one for Dark Monks), with each stack relying to one element. Hence, the "way between the Ways", because it is a combination of the Elemental Way and the Philosophy.

    ...even if you didn't laugh at the horrendous pun, you get only 5 (FIVE) of these abilities, unless you're from the Path of the Riddle of Equilibrium in which you receive six. At 10th level, you get one more ability (or two if you're a Balance Monk) because of the secondary element: this quip has precedence over what appears above, even if it's just me clarifying myself.

    Light Monks may seem like they got the shaft, because they only get healing abilities, but they get limited-yet-interesting abilities that a Cleric might just reserve as part of a scroll or wand. I declined for temporary immunity for Light Monks because most people are already iffy regarding immunities, and granting all your allies immunity against one thing might seem like insulting them. Then again, the abilities are a bit weak.

    Balance Monks get, oddly, buffs. These buffs belonged to Light Monks in DDO, but inventing new abilities that appealed to balance would be a bit complicated, and would have left the healing abilities out of the question. However, both Light and Dark Monks can get a brief taste of those abilities, so you don't have to worry that much: in fact, allowing access to the abilities of Balance Monks reinforced their idea of balance.

    Dark Monks, on the other hand, get some nasty debuffs that scale with level. They are more limited in scale (Light and Balance Monks affect all within 30 ft. whereas Dark Monks need to touch or strike the opponent), but the penalties can be pretty strong. The original version either imposed energy vulnerabilities with the enhancement-based techniques or replicate actual feats (Freezing the Lifeblood, Falling Star Strike) so they were unsuitable, so I decided for penalties to compensate.

    Because of the allowance of all Monks to dabble on the abilities of others, you'll notice that neither Light nor Dark monks will really get shafted, whereas Balance Monks definitely win this round. Dark Monks can't get abilities from Light Monks and viceversa, so that's the reason both get 5/6 abilities to the Balance Monk's 6/8.


    Finishing Move (Su): At 10th level, if the monk has expended a daily use of her ki power (or daily use of her Stunning Fist feat) to deal elemental damage with her weapons, she may elect to end this benefit as a swift action. If she does so, she may activate the following abilities, based on her choice of elemental way:

    Air: the next melee attack deals 1d6 points of electricity damage per two class levels and the target must succeed on a Will saving throw or become paralyzed for 1 round.

    Earth: the next melee attack deals 1d6 points of acid damage per two class levels and the target must succeed on a Fortitude saving throw or become nauseated for a number of rounds equal to half her class level.

    Fire: the monk unleashes a cone of fire that deals 1d6 points of fire damage per two class levels on a 15 ft. range, as if using the burning hands spell. If the affected creatures fail their Reflex saves, they catch on fire.

    Water: the next melee attack deals 1d6 points of cold damage per two class levels and the target must succeed on a Reflex saving throw or become slowed for a number of rounds equal to half her class level.
    All saving throws have a DC equal to 10 + 1/2 the monk's class level + the monk's Wisdom modifier (Con for Earth monks, Str for Fire monks).

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    Another thing taken from DDO (notice how much I love their rendition of the Monk? Another thing that inspired me to retool the revision I did earlier) and adapted to tabletop, the Finishing Moves required you to combo elemental fists in order to elicit a Finishing Move. This would be far too complex in tabletop to enable that way, so making it a swift action finishing move that cancels that "state" of elemental fists (which is technically drawn from the Draconic Fist ACF from Dragon Magic) makes for a proper replacement that holds essentially the same power.

    You'll notice that the "finishing" moves aren't taken verbatim from their DDO incarnation aside from the Fire finishing move (which is exactly the same except for increased damage and the ability to catch fire) and the Water finishing move (which imposes the slow status). All others are reasonable facsimiles that deal damage of the same element (and a suitable amount of damage) plus a status effect. Air and Earth moves, of course, are potentially lethal because you can nauseate or even paralyze an opponent, which effectively takes it out of the playing field (and in the case of the Air finishing move, it's actually better than Freezing the Lifeblood). They may seem a bit strong, but do consider that you're almost halfway through the levels, and enemies are pretty strong at this moment.

    Fire has an odd finisher because, unlike the others, it has an AoO effect. Fire will always have the shaft, so making it an AoO (which Monks desperately lack) makes it slightly more useful to get than a simple attack, if only because you can use another finishing move for single enemies and the Fire finishing move to finish various mooks.


    Diamond Body (Ex or Su): At 11th level, a monk’s skin becomes unnaturally resilient. She gains damage reduction 10, which can only be bypassed by magic or chaotic-aligned weapons. As well, may expend a daily use of her ki power to gain temporary increased resiliency to damage. The monk increases her DR to 15/magic and chaotic for a number of rounds equal to half her class level plus her Wisdom modifier (Strength for Fire monks); this increase is treated as a supernatural ability. At 20th level, this changes to DR 20/epic and chaotic. A monk that follows the way of Earth gains DR 10/chaotic and adamantine at 11th level, increases her DR to 15/chaotic and adamantine by expending a daily use of her ki ability (and uses Constitution instead of Wisdom), and at 20th level she increases her DR to 20/epic, chaotic and adamantine.

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    The core Monk grants DR at 20th level, but what you get is really pointless. Since Diamond Body was subsumed into Purity of Body, I decided in the earlier revision of the Monk to grant them a degree of damage reduction before Perfect Self came online. Still, DR 5/magic and adamantine wasn't really that hot, so it now became DR 10/magic or chaotic. Certainly not the best, but if you factor the use of ki granting you DR 15/magic AND chaotic, it makes for a last-resort damage mitigator in case you need to go up close and personal (as befitting their martial character nature).

    As befitting their "tank-ish" nature, Earth Monks get a superb bonus by having an entirely different form of DR which may only be passed by chaotic OR adamantine weapons, and which improvement makes them nearly unbeatable.

    Of course, once they get to 20th level, the damage reduction becomes spectacular: DR 20/epic and chaotic (and adamantine, if an Earth monk) ensures that nearly anyone won't dent the Monk.

    Perhaps I jumped the gun a bit? You're the judge of that.


    Abundant Step (Ex or Su): At 12th level or higher, the monk can move to half her land speed as a free action once per round. She may not use a 5-foot step in the same round she uses this ability. Her movement while using this ability is affected as usual, except she does not provoke an attack of opportunity when moving out of a threatened space. She may also use the Balance, Jump and Tumble skills as part of this movement.

    As well, a monk may expend a daily use of her ki power to slip magically between spaces, as if using the spell dimension door, except she uses it as a move action and can act her remaining actions afterwards. Her caster level for this effect is one-half her monk level (rounded down). A monk that follows the way of Fire releases a 5 ft. radius burst of flames on the spot from where she teleports, dealing damage as if using her finishing move (1d6 fire damage/2 class levels). This latter ability is a supernatural ability.

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    A legacy ability that has little reason to remain, Abundant Step was improved to grant the often sought "improve 5-ft. step to 1/2-movement-step" ability that would make monks synergize with Flurry of Blows and their martial nature. Being so good, I decided to retain that ability, and keep the Dimension Door aspect open in case they need to escape, which also allows Sun School to remain almost intact.

    Of course, after I made a few checks, I noticed Fire Monks were getting shafted a bit, so they get a nice trick by bursting into flames on the spot they were, making Dimension Door an offensive teleportation ability. The damage is, of course, fire (easily resisted and/or ignored) but if the Monk gets surrounded, even a bit of damage and a chance to escape are an unbeatable combination. I expect this allows you to make more Fire Monks, because Fire needs some love.


    Diamond Soul (Ex):
    At 13th level, a monk gains spell resistance equal to her current monk level + 10; monks following the way of Water gain spell resistance equal to her current monk level +15 instead. By spending one daily use of her ki pool, the monk may add her Wisdom modifier to her spell resistance for a number of rounds equal to half her class level; Earth monks add Constitution and Fire monks use Strength instead. Beneficial spells (those with the [harmless] descriptor) are not affected by this kind of spell resistance, even if the spell is originally subject to it.

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    Not much changes to Diamond Soul (the earlier revision, that is), except that the choice of elemental way matters. Water monks get higher Spell Resistance because Water Monks are a bit more aligned to supernatural combat than their other brethren (such as Fire and Earth monks, which are physically offensive and defensive respectively, or Wind monks which are physically fast). Of course, to make SR worthwhile, beneficial spells are ignored, so you can get buffed and healed with little trouble while having spells bounce off you.


    (continued on next post. Really, I should have reserved 5 posts...)
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; Yesterday at 03:18 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes: post 3, and revisions to Core and supplementary

    The Ways Unite (Su): At 15th level, the monk reaches a pinnacle of understanding regarding her pathways towards enlightenment that allows her to surpass seemingly impossible obstacles and achieve impossible tasks:

    Path of the Conqueror: the monk ignores resistances to energy types, and deals half energy damage to creatures immune to that energy whenever she deals energy damage.

    Path of Denial: the monk ignores immunities to various conditions (such as daze, energy drain, instant death and so on), but the creature holding immunity to such moves gains a bonus to the saving throw equal to 15 - the monk's Wisdom modifier (monks of Earth or Fire use Constitution or Strength, respectively), up to a minimum of +0.

    Path of Embodiment: the monk gains immunity to the energy type related to her primary element. Whenever she would receive fire damage, she instead heals one-third of the damage she would have otherwise taken (thus, the same monk that chooses the Way of Fire that takes 18 points of damage would heal 6 points). If the monk gains an elemental subtype, she may ignore any weakness from said subtype (thus, a monk with the fire subtype following the Way of Fire ignores weakness to cold damage).

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    What's this!? A fifth...erm, sixth column of customization!? And at 15th level!?

    Yes, I liked Path of Denial a lot, so I decided to provide them very nice benefits.

    The Ways Unite was originally meant to bind the concept of Elemental Way and Philosophy into a single brutal benefit, but then I realized that shoehorning that option at such a level was insulting, so you're now free to choose.

    Path of the Conqueror was shifted from its original incarnation, so that you can ignore resistance and immunity (the latter to an extent). This makes Fire monks a bit more attractive, by solving a typical problem (too much resistance/immunity to fire) through an existing way (see Searing Spell).

    Path of Denial was designed to negate immunities, and it appears with only a minimal change. It resembles the epic feat Music of the Gods, but the boost to saving throws becomes modular. With decent stats the immunity still causes trouble, but those who optimize like crazy won't get any trouble.

    Path of Embodiment is a new path, designed to place some importance on the primary element chosen by the Monk. You gain the ability to absorb the damage dealt from your primary element as HP, but the resistance is there if for some reason a spell bypasses that immunity. Note the level, and that some creatures gain it as a low-level ability, so it's not entirely unbalanced.


    Timeless Body (Ex & Su): Upon attaining 17th level, a monk no longer takes penalties to her ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that she has already taken, however, remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and the monk still dies of old age when her time is up.
    As well, by spending three daily uses of her ki power as an immediate action, a monk may ignore the effects of any spell that affects the passage of time, but only for herself. For example, a monk that uses this ability may ignore the effects of temporal stasis, and may act as normal while under a time stop spell cast by another. The use of this ability is considered a supernatural ability.

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    The earlier revision version of this ability was pretty good, so there's little changes there. This is to negate spellcasters (and particularly manifesters) their mastery over time, that one way they can vanquish their opponents before even starting combat, plus you no longer gain the penalties for increasing ability scores, which makes Fire, Earth and Air monks breathe in relief and Water monks become even more powerful as they age.


    Diamond Mind (Su): Upon reaching 18th level, a monk becomes immune to all mind-affecting spells and effects. She may gain the benefit of mind-affecting abilities such as inspire courage, or positive morale effects.

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    Not many changes from the original revision, which sorta invalidates Still Mind (and the benefit Earth monks had). However, by this level, if you get dominated or charmed by a spellcaster, you're a definite menace, so this benefit is worthwhile. Besides, it's 18th level; by this time immunities aren't so bad.

    However, much like with spell resistance, positive mind-affecting effects are ignored, so you can be buffed but not debuffed.


    Empty Body (Su): At 19th level, a monk may expend one daily use of her ki power as a swift action to gain the ability to assume an ethereal state, as though using the spell etherealness, for a number of rounds equal to half her class level. While ethereal (through this ability or similar effects), a monk may attack creatures on the Material Plane using her unarmed strikes or special monk weapons.

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    Another thing taken verbatim from the earlier revision of the Monk. Instead of rounds per day (which is akin to Pathfinder), they get uses based on how many ki they're willing to expend.

    Originally, this ability was meant to allow monks to scout and escape with relative safety. As you can see, this escape method was turned into a more dangerous offensive/defensive method, which allows you to fight from relative safety while delivering the smack-down to Material Plane enemies. By now, the Monk may be approaching Tier 2 power real fast, but rest assured: it is still Tier 3 because of the customization, the breadth of options, but the inability to duplicate even half of what a sorcerer can pull off in a single day.


    Perfect Self: At 20th level, a monk becomes a magical creature. She is forevermore treated as an outsider with the native subtype for the purpose of spells and magical effects, but retains any other subtype (such as elf or orc, for example). The monk also gains a special ability based on her choice of philosophy:

    Path of Harmonious Balance: fast healing 5.

    Path of Ineffable Dominion: whenever the monk succeeds on a natural 20 roll, the creature must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the monk's class level + the monk's Wisdom modifier; monks of Earth or Fire use Constitution or Strength, respectively) or die. Creatures immune to instant death instead take an extra 100 points of damage.

    Path of the Riddle of Equilibrium: the monk is equally healed by positive or negative energy, and is treated as having the most beneficial alignment whenever a spell or effect depends on one.

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    The old version of Perfect Self was too weak, but there was very little to improve it. With this revision, and the inclusion of Philosophies, it was pretty easy to grant the Monk a sizable benefit for reaching their capstone.

    Light Monks get a connection with positive energy so deep, they can heal their own wounds. An Earth/Light Monk with Patient Tortoise, safe to say, is effectively unbeatable (though not particularly strong, mind you), while others gain a superb resilience almost unparalleled.

    Dark Monks get a reduced version of their famous "Touch of Death". In DDO, this ability was their most dangerous attack, dealing upwards of 500 hit points of damage on a failed Fortitude save. Of course, being a Fortitude save, most enemies learned to resist it (even if the DC was based on the monk's level, not half of it). This ability returns in a way the original Quivering Palm, but as a permanent ability accessible only on a critical hit. However, if the enemy is immune to instant death, they still take a load of damage which may be enough to kill them.

    Balance Monks, on the other hand, get the shaft by this level. Being healed by positive or negative energy at this level isn't so much of a benefit, and they already can be treated, to an extent, as the most beneficial alignment, so the trait is mostly a consolation prize. However, considering Balance Monks hit the jackpot about 11 levels ago, I wouldn't protest.

    Hopefully, this makes reaching 20th level in Monk a worthwhile journey, instead of a sour disappointment.


    Mastery of Ki (Su): At 20th level, a monk’s mastery of ki reaches a pinnacle. She may reduce the cost of all abilities that require daily uses of her ki power by one, up to a minimum of one. As well, she does not lose her supernatural abilities if her daily uses of ki power are completely expended.

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    And, of course, the earlier revision's better capstone ability: reduce the costs of a few ki abilities such as Ki Strike and Timeless Body. The ability to retain all supernatural abilities (which aren't a lot, if you think about it) if you decide to go nova aren't so bad either, since that means you get permanently enchanted fists, permanent immunity to mind-affecting effects and so on.


    Ex-Monks
    A monk who becomes nonlawful cannot gain new levels as a monk but retains all monk abilities.

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    So you may be wondering why keep this restriction? Well, it's the one bit of flavor that I resolved to keep. At least they can multiclass freely, mind you.


    SPECIAL MONK WEAPONS

    Some weapons, such as the kama, nunchaku, sai, siangham and shuriken are considered “special monk weapons”, which allow the monk to wield them with proficiency and use them as part of their martial training. This retooling grants more utility to such weapons, as well as other weapons that may not seem much use (darts and slings as simple ranged weapons, and quarterstaffs as a simple melee weapon). All of these are located in the Player’s Handbook, while the blowgun is located in the Asian Weapons section of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

    In other supplements, several other monk weapons have appeared, which are not part of the core weapons. If the campaign has access to the following weapons, treat them as special monk weapons; thus, the monk automatically gains proficiency with them, and depending on whether they are ranged or melee, they increase the amount of damage they deal. In the case of melee weapons, the monk also has special features that apply exclusively to them by means of the Deadly Weapon class feature:

    Butterfly Sword (OA p19): a monk may apply the benefits of special abilities and/or enhancement bonuses to attack and damage rolls when using a butterfly sword’s guard to make unarmed strikes (the monk does not actually make an unarmed strike, but uses the weapon’s guard as a knuckle duster and uses a punching motion). Using the butterfly sword in this way allows the monk to deal bludgeoning damage, and deals damage as if using an unarmed strike.

    Cutting Wheel (SoS p135): a monk treats the cutting wheel as an unarmed strike for purposes of determining damage (thus, a monk deals 1d10 slashing damage with this weapon instead of 1d8). If the monk makes a successful disarm attempt with this weapon, she is treated as if she had succeeded on a melee attack, but she deals only half damage.

    Jitte (OA p19): when fighting with a jitte, the monk gains a +2 bonus to Armor Class while fighting defensively, and a +4 bonus to AC if using total defense. This is in addition to bonuses to Armor Class gained by using these abilities, and stack with any other feat or ability that grants a similar bonus. A character with Improved Disarm may immediately make a disarm attempt with a successful block while using this ability; treat as if using an attack of opportunity, except the monk makes a disarm attempt instead.

    Hook Sword (SoS p136): a monk is treated as if having the Two-Weapon Fighting feat when using two hook swords, and her hook swords are treated as light weapons for purposes of determining penalties to attack rolls exclusively. If she has the Flying Tiger weapon style feat (see Secrets of Sarlona page 117), she is instead treated as if having Improved Two-Weapon Fighting for purposes of determining extra attacks.

    Lajatang (OA p19): as quarterstaff, but the monk deals slashing damage instead. Also, a monk gains a +2 bonus on disarm attempts when using a lajatang.

    Longstaff (CompAdv p116): as quarterstaff, but a monk using this weapon also gains a +2 shield bonus to Armor Class when fighting defensively, using the total defense action, or using Combat Expertise with a penalty of at least -2.

    Monk's Cane (SoS p135): this weapon is treated as a throwing weapon for purposes of determining damage when thrown, and as a melee weapon to determine damage when making a melee attack. If she has the Ranged Disarm feat and makes a ranged disarm attempt, the monk is treated as if she had succeeded on a ranged attack, but she deals only half damage.

    Monk's Spade (SoS p136): as a full-round action, a monk using this weapon may make two attack at all creatures adjacent to her by spinning her weapon, as if she was using the Whirlwind Attack feat. Both attacks are dealt at her highest base attack bonus, but the monk takes a -2 penalty on the attack. The first attack deals the weapon’s slashing damage, while the second attack deals the weapon’s bludgeoning damage (use this to determine which damage type and critical multiplier applies).

    Nekode (OA p19): a monk treats the nekode (or baghnak) as an unarmed strike for purposes of determining damage (thus, a monk deals 1d10 damage with this weapon instead of 1d8). A monk may use the nekode to deal either bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage (even if the weapon normally allows only piercing damage).

    Steel Flute (SoS p136): as club.

    Three-Section Staff (OA p19): as quarterstaff. Also, a monk gains a +2 bonus on disarm attempts when using a three-section staff.

    Tonfa (OA p19): when fighting with a tonfa, the monk gains a +2 bonus to Armor Class while fighting defensively, and a +4 bonus to AC if using total defense. This is in addition to bonuses to Armor Class gained by using these abilities, and stack with any other feat or ability that grants a similar bonus. As well, if the monk has the Two-Weapon Defense feat, the shield bonus to AC gained with this feat (and improved versions, such as Improved Two-Weapon Defense) when fighting with two tonfa increases by 2 (but only when using two tonfa). Finally, the monk treats the tonfa as an unarmed strike for purposes of determining damage (thus, a monk deals 1d10 bludgeoning damage with this weapon instead of 1d8).

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    In order to remain fair, these are the special monk weapons from the other supplements, and all of the abilities that the Monk gains when using one. Most are essentially copies of the others, while some are particularly unique, such as the butterfly sword application of their guards as knuckle dusters.

    The idea behind all of this is to make special monk weapons particularly special, including those who might already be special in some way but require a feat to make them work. You may notice that some of these abilities may exist as weapon style feats, but the sheer amount of feats required to get a minor benefit makes it unsuitable regardless of how good the idea may be. Thus, instead of making custom-made feats for Monks and their special weapons, I decided for a class feature that allowed enhancing weapons just by getting levels in the class.


    MONKS AND EQUIPMENT
    One particular benefit that most monks may not benefit from is the ability to enchant their unarmed strikes with weapon special qualities, or the ability to benefit from armor or shield special qualities. This is because monks are not proficient with any kind of armor or shield, and because they are better suited to use unarmed strikes. This fact makes monks usually dependent on allies for abilities that they would otherwise gain from a weapon, and causes them to lose their edge very quickly against other martial characters (of particular note the swordsage, whose unarmed adaptation as defined in the Tome of Battle: the Book of Nine Swords is often considered a clear replacement to the monk). Monks may benefit from items such as amulets of mighty fists and bracers of armor without losing their combat abilities (such as their AC bonus or their slow fall), but these are often costlier than wearing light armor.
    One way to address this trouble is to allow some equipment to improve unarmed strikes. The deadly weapons class ability of the retooled monk grants a measure of power with special monk weapons, but it still leaves the monk’s signature weapon (her body) without benefit. One way is to allow gauntlets to count as unarmed strikes for purposes of determining damage and whether the monk may use special abilities with them (such as flurry of blows); that way, the monk may “enchant” her unarmed strikes with existing weapons. For purposes of armor, bracers of armor and robes that grant armor bonuses may be enchanted as if they were masterwork armor, with the cost of enhancements added to the general cost of the item (but this latter option is also quite expensive, even more than wielding armor).
    Another option is to allow certain items to be enhanced as if they were weapons or armor which may be used by the monk. As a recommendation, a monk may wield special handwraps which may contain special enhancements and which cost is negligible; in this case, treat the handwraps as if they were masterwork weapons for purposes of enchanting them, but do not add the 300 gp cost. Similarly, treat monk outfits as if they were masterwork armor for purposes of receiving armor special enhancements, using the rules for handwraps. It is the DMs decision whether only the monk, or classes that have skill with unarmed strikes as the monk, may benefit from these special items or whether they are usable by anyone; in the former case, only monks, ninja, samurai, sohei and swordsages may benefit from these items (the latter regardless of whether it is adapted to gain the unarmed strike progression of a monk or not).
    Finally, albeit a difficult method, is to directly enchant the monk’s body with the special enhancements, allowing the monk to gain weapon and armor special enhancements with the added benefit of always having them, instead of gaining them through a weapon or suit of armor. The way to do this requires a ritual in which the monk must meditate while the crafter imbues the arcane (or divine) energies to create magic items into the body through a series of unguents and etchings. Treat the ritual as if enchanting a masterwork weapon or armor (or improving an already magical item), except the monk and the caster must both be in the area, and both must refrain from making any other activities while the ritual is in place. Once finished, the monk gains the benefit of the weapon or armor special enhancement. A monk may have its unarmed strikes and body directly enhanced with special abilities after 4th level (when the monk gains the ki strike class ability and her first bonus to AC), and she is treated as if a weapon (or armor) with a +1 enhancement bonus. The DM may determine whether a monk’s body may be enhanced directly, albeit the former methods to provide monks with weapon and armor special abilities are recommended over this method.

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    Taken from my earlier revision, these suggestions for the DM exist so that Monks take advantage of their main source, which are of course their unarmed strikes.

    The first is the simplest, as you essentially use what already exists in the rules: bracers of armor provide armor benefits to AC (as stated in Arms and Equipment Guide if my memory doesn't fail me) and using gauntlets as very special monk weapons that allow improvement of unarmed strikes (but only when using the gauntlets).

    The second, drawn from DDO, is less complex but requires creating new items that work exclusively for monks. Outfits should count as items for the body (not the torso, as vests are), which makes them armor equivalents for Monks aside from their Wisdom bonus and their effective "enhancement" bonus. That way, they can also provide a real enhancement bonus. Handwraps, on the other hand, work very much as necklaces of natural armor but only for unarmed strikes, existing only to provide weapon enhancements to Monks' unarmed strikes. You may decide if only Monks take advantage of this or if the special items apply to other characters (thus, a wizard could wear an outfit that grants them stuff like if wearing armor, except they wear none).

    The third is the most complex, but it's resumed in the simplest terms: your unarmed strikes are considered masterwork, so go ahead and enchant them. The need for a ritual is so that the magic remains within your fists (maybe as part of an intricate set of runic tattoos, or arcane marks in your hands and feet) remains intact, but for the most part you essentially have enchantable unarmed strikes. I don't like this idea very much unless you have a way to enchant natural weapons this way, and I feel that a template would solve this in a much easier way, but it's there so you can consider it.


    Changes to feats and prestige classes:

    Core:
    Improved Disarm (feat): A monk may select Improved Disarm as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites so as long as she has a 13 in her primary score based on her elemental way (Strength for Fire, Dexterity for Air, Constitution for Earth, Wisdom for Water). (Replaces second sentence in Special)

    Improved Grapple (feat): A monk may select Improved Grapple as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites so as long as she has a 13 in her primary score based on her elemental way (Strength for Fire, Dexterity for Air, Constitution for Earth, Wisdom for Water). (Replaces second sentence in Special)

    Improved Trip (feat): A monk may select Improved Trip as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites so as long as she has a 13 in her primary score based on her elemental way (Strength for Fire, Dexterity for Air, Constitution for Earth, Wisdom for Water). (Replaces second sentence in Special)

    Stunning Fist (feat): A monk may expend one daily use of her ki power as a free action to expend uses of Stunning Fist. (addition)
    A monk may select Stunning Fist as a bonus feat even if she doesn’t meet the prerequisites, as long as she has a Wisdom score of 13 or more (regardless of its choice of elemental path). A monk who selects this feat may attempt a stunning attack a number of times per day equal to her monk level, plus one more time per day for every four levels she has in classes other than monk. (Replaces second paragraph)

    Ki Focus (weapon special ability): The magic weapon serves as a channel for the wielder’s ki. If the user is a monk, this weapon allows her to gain all the benefits of ki strike, as if it were her unarmed strikes. As well, if she has the Stunning Fist feat or feats that expend a use of Stunning Fist, she may channel these abilities through the weapon; this last ability can be used by any character so as long as it has the requisite feats. (Replaces description)

    Amulet of Mighty Fists (wondrous item; necklace): Useful for characters who rely on their fists but desire an added boost, amulets of mighty fists enchant the user’s fists with magical properties. Treat the amulet of mighty fists as a masterwork weapon for purposes of adding enchantment bonuses and weapon special qualities. An amulet of mighty fists almost always has at least a +1 enhancement bonus, and must comply with most requisites regarding weapons (for example, since unarmed strikes usually deal bludgeoning damage, they cannot be enhanced with the keen weapon special ability); however, an amulet of mighty fists cannot be enhanced with the throwing or returning qualities (or qualities for thrown or projectile weapons).
    Cost: 300 plus the enhancement costs (2000 for an amulet of mighty fists +1, 8000 for an amulet of mighty fists [+1 flaming], and so on). (Replaces description and cost).

    Monk’s Belt (wondrous item; belt): The wearer’s AC, unarmed damage and uses of stunning fist are treated as a monk of five levels higher. Requires having at least 1 level of monk to use. (Replaces 2nd sentence in description)

    Non-Core:

    Axiomatic Strike (feat) (CW 96): By expending one daily use of your ki power or Stunning Fist as a swift action, you briefly turn your unarmed strikes into the bane of chaotic creatures. Your unarmed strikes are considered to have an effective enhancement bonus of +2 higher (if any) against chaotic creatures, and your attacks deal an extra 2d6 points damage to such creatures for one round. This damage stacks with the extra damage from the lawful weapon special ability. (Replaces the Benefit)

    Clever Wrestling (feat) (CW 97): Prerequisites – Dex 13, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple (replaces prerequisites)
    When your opponent is larger, you gain a circumstance bonus on your grapple check to escape a grapple or pin. The size of the bonus depends on your opponent’s size, as shown in the following table:

    Opponent Size Bonus
    One size higher +2
    Two sizes higher +4
    Three sizes higher +6
    Four sizes higher +8

    (replaces the Benefit)

    Fists of Iron (feat) (CW 99): By expending a daily use of your Stunning Fist as a swift action, your attacks deal an extra 1d6 points of damage with a successful unarmed strike for one round. (Replaces the Benefit)
    Special - A monk may choose this feat as one of her bonus feats. If she has the ki strike (adamantine) class ability, this damage ignores damage reduction as if adamantine (or ignores any damage reduction). (addition)

    Freezing the Lifeblood (feat) (CW 99): A monk may expend one daily use of her ki power as a free action to use this feat. (Addition to Special)

    Rapid Stunning (feat) (CW 105): You may use one additional stunning attack (or feat or special attack that counts against your daily limit of stunning attacks) per round. If the feat lasts for more than one attack, it still cannot be used more than once per round, but it allows the use of more than one feat (replaces the Benefit)

    Weakening Touch (feat) (CW 106): If the character is a monk, she may expend one daily use of her ki power to gain the benefit of the feat. (Addition to Special)

    Sun School (tactical feat) (CW 112): Prerequisites – Flurry of blows ability, Stunning Fist, base attack bonus +11. (Replaces the Prerequisites)
    Flash of Sunset: To use this maneuver, you must move adjacent to a foe instantaneously, as with a dimension door spell or the monk’s abundant step feature, and expend a daily use of your ki power (or another if you’re using the abundant step). If you do so, you can do a full attack at your opponent (but not any other full-round actions). (Replaces one of the tactical maneuvers)
    Special – a monk may choose this feat as one of her bonus feats. (Addition)

    Ascetic Hunter and Ascetic Rogue (feats) (CAdv 105 & 106): add Martial Training to the list of prerequisites.
    Levels in sorcerer (or rogue) stack to determine the bonuses of the monk's chosen martial training style. (Added to Benefit)

    Bounding Assault (feat) (PHB): A monk may select Bounding Assault as her 11th or 16th level bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites, as long as she has the Spring Attack feat.

    Fiery Fist (feat) (PHBII 79): A monk may select Fiery Fist as one of her 6th level or higher bonus feats, even if she does not meet the other prerequisites. (Replaces 2nd sentence in Special)
    A monk gains an extra daily use of her ki power instead of a daily use of Stunning Fist. A monk may expend one daily use of her ki power to gain the benefit, as if it were using a daily use of her Stunning Fist attempt, and it retains this benefit for a number of rounds equal to half her character level. If she has the Stunning Fist attempt, she retains this benefit. (Addition to Special)

    Fiery Ki Defense (feat) (PHBII 79): A monk may select Fiery Ki Defense as one of her bonus feats, even if she does not meet the other prerequisites, as long as she has Fiery Fist. (Replaces 2nd sentence in Special)
    A monk may expend one daily use of her ki power to gain the benefit, as if it were using a daily use of her Stunning Fist attempt, and the effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to half her character level. If she has the Stunning Fist attempt, she retains this benefit. (Addition to Special)

    Ki Blast (feat) (PHBII 80): A character deals damage from the blast equal to 1d6 per two character levels plus her Wisdom modifier.
    A monk may select Ki Blast as one of her bonus feats, even if she does not meet the other prerequisites, as long as she has Fiery Fist. (Replaces 2nd sentence in Special)
    A monk gains an extra daily use of her ki power instead of a daily use of Stunning Fist. A monk may expend one daily use of her ki power to gain the benefit, as if it were using a daily use of her Stunning Fist attempt. A Fire Monk deals 1-1/2 times her Strength instead of her Wisdom, an Air Monk deals Dexterity modifier in damage instead of Wisdom, an Earth Monk deals Constitution modifier in damage, and a Water Monk deals 1-1/2 times her Wisdom modifier. If she has the Stunning Fist attempt, she retains this benefit. (Addition to Special)

    Rapid Blitz (feat) (PHB): A monk may select Rapid Blitz as her 16th level bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites, as long as she has the Spring Attack and Bounding Assault feats.

    Water Splitting Stone (feat) (PHBII 85): A monk can select Water Splitting Stone as long as she has a base attack bonus of +9 (other prerequisites can be ignored) (Replaces 2nd sentence in Special)

    Fist of the Heavens (exalted feat) (BoED 43): Prerequisites – Wis 15, Stunning Fist, either Sanctify Ki Strike, Sanctify Martial Strike (unarmed attack) or Sanctify Natural Attack. (Replaces prerequisites)

    Holy Ki Strike (exalted feat) (BoED 44): Prerequisites – Wis 15, Sanctify Ki Strike. (Replaces prerequisites)
    This damage does not stack with the extra damage from Sanctify Ki Strike (but see below). (Replaces last sentence in Benefit)
    By expending a daily use of your ki power, your unarmed strikes gain the bane special property against evil outsiders or undead (your choice). This replaces the secondary benefit from the Sanctify Ki Strike feat. (Addition to Benefit)

    Sanctify Ki Strike (exalted feat) (BoED 46): Prerequisites – Wis 15, Improved Unarmed Strike, ki strike (lawful) (Replaces prerequisites)
    By expending a daily use of your ki power, your unarmed strikes gain the holy special property. You may replace acquiring the lawful special property as well, without expending extra daily uses. The extra damage from the special weapon property replaces the damage from the feat. (Addition to Benefit)

    Vile Ki Strike (exalted feat) (BoVD 50): Prerequisites – Wis 15, Improved Unarmed Strike, ki strike (lawful) (Replaces prerequisites)
    By expending a daily use of your ki power, your unarmed strikes gain the unholy special property. You may replace acquiring the lawful special property as well, without expending extra daily uses. (Addition to Benefit)

    Pharaoh’s Fist (feat) (Sandstorm 51): You must declare that you are using this feat before you make your attack roll (thus, a failed attack roll ruins the attempt). By expending one Stunning Fist use for the day, you force an opponent successfully struck by your unarmed attack, and all creatures adjacent to that opponent, to make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Wis modifier) or be stunned for 1 round. All opponents struck by the stunning attempt are dealt damage normally. You can replace the main benefit of this feat (stunning) with other feats that replace the Stunning Fist feat (such as Pain Touch, Weakening Touch and Freezing the Lifeblood) by expending another daily use of the Stunning Fist feat. (Replaces Benefit)
    A monk may select Pharaoh’s Fist as a bonus feat at 6th level or higher even if she does not meet the prerequisites, so as long as she has the Stunning Fist feat. A monk may expend one daily use of her ki power as a free action to use this feat. The saving throw DC of this ability is based on Constitution for monks following the way of Earth, and on Strength for monks following the way of Fire. (Addition to Special)

    Rattlesnake Strike (feat) (Sandstorm 51): A monk may select Rattlesnake Strike as a bonus feat at 6th level or higher even if she does not meet the prerequisites, so as long as she has the Stunning Fist feat. A monk may expend one daily use of her ki power as a free action to use this feat. (Addition to Special)

    Scorpion’s Grasp (feat) (Sandstorm 52): Prerequisites - Str 15, Dex 13, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike. (Replaces prerequisites)
    If your attack with an unarmed strike, natural weapon or a light or one-handed melee weapon hits, the strike deals normal damage and you can attempt to start a grapple as a free action; no initial touch attack is required. If you succeed in starting the grapple, you must drop your one-handed weapon, but if you started the grapple with a light weapon, you can use it in each round to make an attack against the creature you are grappling without taking the normal –4 penalty on the attack roll.
    You have the option to conduct the grapple normally, or you may hold a creature one or more sizes smaller than you with your off hand. If you choose to do the latter, you take a –20 penalty on grapple checks against that creature and you cannot deal damage with your grapple checks, but you are not considered grappled yourself. You don’t lose your Dexterity bonus to AC, you still threaten an area, and you can use remaining attacks against other opponents. While maintaining this latter type of hold, you can move normally (possibly carrying your opponent away), provided you can drag the opponent’s weight.
    (Replaces Benefit)
    Normal - You may only initiate a grapple as a standard action or as part of a full attack action (by replacing one of your attacks) (Addition)
    A fighter may select Scorpion’s Grasp as one of his fighter bonus feats. (Addition to Special)
    A monk may select Scorpion’s Grasp as a bonus feat at 6th level or higher even if she does not meet the prerequisites, so as long as she has the Improved Grapple feat. (Addition to Special)

    Serpent Fang (feat) (Sandstorm 53): By expending one Stunning Fist use for the day, you can project your ki to strike an opponent that is 5 feet beyond your normal unarmed reach for one round. You can use this extended reach for actions that require a melee attack, disarm, grapple, sunder or trip. You can combine this effect with other feats that expend daily uses of Stunning Fist (including the feat itself) (Replaces Benefit)
    A monk may select Rattlesnake Strike as a bonus feat at 6th level or higher even if she does not meet the prerequisites, so as long as she has the Stunning Fist feat. A monk may expend one daily use of her ki power as a free action to use this feat, which extends the duration to 1 round plus 1 round for every five character levels. (Addition to Special)

    Spoiler
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    These revisions to existing feats have been only moderately altered to fit the new vision of the Monk, but it's crucial to deal with them. Note, of course, that I mentioned that there would be an extensive feat revision: this isn't it. This is just working with existing material from the earlier revision, but in any case I post that material, that will have greater priority.

    The idea, of course, was to provide even greater support for the Monk by altering feats made specifically for them, or that at least are meant to benefit Monks more than any other. Stuff like Fiery Fist, Ki Blast, Pharaoh's Strike and Rattlesnake Strike are meant to provide some benefit to Monks and various brawlers, but in the end the effect is lost because they're sorta weak. Core Monks only have a small amount of bonus feats, but these are limited in scope and only work so far. Thus, the idea is to use the expanded amount of bonus feats given to the retooled Monk and provide that same degree of "favoritism" to the class as with the original. Particularly, stuff like Improved Trip and Improved Grapple (and Improved Disarm) need to be less of a hassle for Monks, which might not have enough Intelligence (and Strength, depending on their choice of elemental way) to get these feats as, say, a Fighter would. On other occasions, the idea is to reinforce the feats or link them to existing mechanics, since not all Monks are gonna get Stunning Fist as a feat.


    New Feats:
    GREATER DISARM [GENERAL]
    Prerequisites: Dex 15, Int 13, Combat Expertise, Improved Disarm.
    Benefit: If you strike an opponent with a melee attack, you may initiate a disarm attempt as a free action. You do not need to make a touch attack with this special disarm roll. You may use this ability only once per round.
    Normal: You may only initiate a disarm attempt as a standard action or as part of a full attack action (by replacing one of your attacks)
    Special: A fighter may select Greater Disarm as one of his fighter bonus feats.
    A monk may select Greater Disarm as a bonus feat at 6th level or higher even if she does not meet the prerequisites, so as long as she has the Improved Disarm feat.

    GREATER TRIP [GENERAL]
    Prerequisites: Int 13, Combat Expertise.
    Benefit: If you strike an opponent with a melee attack, you may initiate a trip attempt as a free action. You do not need to make a touch attack with this special trip check. If you fail the trip check, your opponent cannot trip you. You can make trip attempts with any weapon.
    Normal: You may only initiate a trip attempt as a standard action or as part of a full attack action (by replacing one of your attacks). You can only use this ability with select weapons.
    Special: At 6th level or higher a monk may select Greater Trip as a bonus feat, even if she does not have the prerequisites, so as long as she has Improved Trip.
    A fighter may select Greater Trip as one of his fighter bonus feats.

    QUIVERING PALM [GENERAL]
    Prerequisites: Dex 13, Wis 17, Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, base attack bonus +15.
    Benefit: By expending two daily uses of Stunning Fist, you can force an opponent to die at your command. If you succeed on a melee attack and the target takes damage from the blow, the quivering palm attack succeeds. Thereafter you can try to slay the victim at any later time, as long as the attempt is made within a number of days equal to your character level. To make such an attempt, you will the target to die (a free action), and unless the target makes a Fortitude saving throw (DC as per the Stunning Fist feat), it dies. If the saving throw is successful, the target is no longer in danger from that particular quivering palm attack, but it may still be affected by another one at a later time. Constructs, oozes, plants, undead, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to critical hits cannot be affected.
    Special: A fighter may select Quivering Palm as one of his fighter bonus feats.
    A monk may select Quivering Palm as a bonus feat at 16th level, even if she does not meet the prerequisites, so as long as she has a primary ability score (Str for Fire, Dex for Air, Con for Earth and Wis for Water) of 17 or more and the Stunning Fist feat. A monk who selects this feat may expend two daily uses of her ki pool to activate this feat.

    Spoiler
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    These three feats are meant to expand the wealth of options a Monk gets, but also as a minor help to other martial characters. The ability to enable a trip attempt with an attack serves lockdown builds immensely, and Greater Disarm makes this ability a bit more useful by enabling an attack alongside the disarm attempt.

    Finally, because most people might miss it: Quivering Palm is a feat that depends on Stunning Fist. Not every Monk will want to have the legendary Quivering Palm, but those following Meditation of War might get it with little trouble. This makes a brawler with Stunning Fist potentially lethal, but the requirements are pretty steep to achieve.


    Finally, after three long posts: questions? Comments? Santa's missing gift, or a waste of time because Tashalatora/unarmed Swordsage/Pathfinder Monk with Qinggong/'brew #33-1/3rd is far better? I expected this post to deliver an explanation on how to build a Monk so that people can understand the mechanics behind it, but even I didn't expect close to 200,000 characters.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; Yesterday at 03:20 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    An idea I've been playing with for my eventual remix: Monks strive to improve the body, mind, and soul. The "body" abilities are mainly based on DEX, and contain most of the combat capability as well as some things to make them more durable. (That can imitate a weaker version of another class, such as the unarmed swordsage.) The "mind" capabilities are mainly based on WIS (not INT; the monk's flavor is all about WIS), and involve a lot of noncombat stuff (particularly heavy resistance to trickery of both magical and mundane nature), as well as a few combat things (e.g. WIS to damage). The "soul" capabilities are mainly based on CHA, and involve Ki, spell resistance, and so on.

    The monk would also get features allowing him to use one of those three abilities instead of the other three for most purposes, at least at high levels (so a high-level monk might use CHA instead of CON for saves and hit points, DEX instead of STR for skills (plus, of course, combat finesse), and WIS instead of INT for skills/level and skill key abilities).
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Yay more T.G oskar stuff. I cant wait to see more, but i do have a question for you. I notice in this and a lot of other things you have done that you mention the tome of battle a lot. And while i do love the book i dont meet very many groups who allow it. How well would you say any of your classes are balanced to non tome of battle settings?
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonus45 View Post
    Yay more T.G oskar stuff. I cant wait to see more, but i do have a question for you. I notice in this and a lot of other things you have done that you mention the tome of battle a lot. And while i do love the book i dont meet very many groups who allow it. How well would you say any of your classes are balanced to non tome of battle settings?
    In my games, which are non-ToB for a variety of reasons I won't get into here, I can say with definition that the retooled classes are a strong Tier 3 style contender. They are powerful and relatively versatile, without being overpowering or overwhelming. The Samurai in particular is solid without being broken (had a player run one from 5 to 11 in a recent campaign; he was always useful in combat, was fairly useful outside of it, and was a blast to play with). The other classes appear to be on the same scale as the Samurai, so they're pretty much fine, IMO.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonus45 View Post
    Yay more T.G oskar stuff. I cant wait to see more, but i do have a question for you. I notice in this and a lot of other things you have done that you mention the tome of battle a lot. And while i do love the book i dont meet very many groups who allow it. How well would you say any of your classes are balanced to non tome of battle settings?
    I'll echo arguskos: they can contribute to a party on a regular and effective basis, but are not as powerful as the major casters (ergo, like the ToB classes).
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Subscribing to the awesome.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    An idea I've been playing with for my eventual remix: Monks strive to improve the body, mind, and soul. The "body" abilities are mainly based on DEX, and contain most of the combat capability as well as some things to make them more durable. (That can imitate a weaker version of another class, such as the unarmed swordsage.) The "mind" capabilities are mainly based on WIS (not INT; the monk's flavor is all about WIS), and involve a lot of noncombat stuff (particularly heavy resistance to trickery of both magical and mundane nature), as well as a few combat things (e.g. WIS to damage). The "soul" capabilities are mainly based on CHA, and involve Ki, spell resistance, and so on.

    The monk would also get features allowing him to use one of those three abilities instead of the other three for most purposes, at least at high levels (so a high-level monk might use CHA instead of CON for saves and hit points, DEX instead of STR for skills (plus, of course, combat finesse), and WIS instead of INT for skills/level and skill key abilities).
    I played with a similar idea when I made my first Monk revision, and a similar play with ability scores appears within the retooled Marshal, but one advice I can give is that a Monk without options might not be that good. As you can see, while extremely complex (and a huge document, I'll admit), you can make many decent to great Monk builds from the same class, which removes it from the "one-trick pony" status. While a nice idea, it should be supported with options to support many differing builds, instead of relying on boosting the few tricks you get. It is a great first step, though, given that you get to play with different ability scores.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonus45 View Post
    Yay more T.G oskar stuff. I cant wait to see more, but i do have a question for you. I notice in this and a lot of other things you have done that you mention the tome of battle a lot. And while i do love the book i dont meet very many groups who allow it. How well would you say any of your classes are balanced to non tome of battle settings?
    I really can't say, but so far they range from good to pretty awesome. I've playtested some of the stuff I built, and on a group comprised only of a Bard and a Fighter, only the Warmage seems a bit excessive in terms of power (but the flexibility made it fun, and I'm not a fan of arcane users). The playtesting made the Paladin fun to play, although it's not any more powerful than a Cleric or Wizard, or a Sorcerer, Psion or Favored Soul. The range can reach between Tier 2 to Tier 4, with the Warmage being Tier 2 (as well as most of the caster classes) while the rest remain right around high to low Tier 3: the Ranger is a pretty high Tier 3, the Paladin is low Tier 3 or high Tier 4, the Monk still needs some tests but stands right around middle Tier 3 or very high Tier 4, the Marshal (and Wyrmlord, by definition) are pretty high on Tier 3 (the Marshal's action economy makes it borderline Tier 2). Certainly, on non-ToB games, the martial classes are not disruptive, but you might want to take care of caster classes because they get a pretty equal boost.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Holy banditos Batman. That's a long post.

    I'm not able to read it all right now; I got to Fleeting step and thought I'd make a comment.

    Choosing your element should occur at level 1. Not level 2. It makes Monk seem like a bit of a dip, but in practice I think that delaying it will potentially cripple monks who are SAD.

    On the other hand, just looking at the first couple levels, I'd want to play a Fire Empty Palm Monk. Pick up Snap Kick and just punch people. Would be AWESOME.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Quote Originally Posted by NineThePuma View Post
    Holy banditos Batman. That's a long post.

    I'm not able to read it all right now; I got to Fleeting step and thought I'd make a comment.

    Choosing your element should occur at level 1. Not level 2. It makes Monk seem like a bit of a dip, but in practice I think that delaying it will potentially cripple monks who are SAD.

    On the other hand, just looking at the first couple levels, I'd want to play a Fire Empty Palm Monk. Pick up Snap Kick and just punch people. Would be AWESOME.
    I will second the movement of the element choice to first level, though I cannot comment on anything else as I have no experience PEACH-ing.

    That said, I wanna play a Earth Monk meself...a guy who entered the wilderness and climbed a mountain with nothing but a twig and a loin-cloth and came back enlightened....
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    This thread feels like a late Christmas present.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Well...I like some aspectsof this, though i'm struggling to tell you what those were;

    It's the presentaion. I managed to read it once for a flavour of the thing, but i can't bring myself to read it again for greater specifics because i just can't seem to see one option from another in hose big blocks of text, i'm just falling back on memory. Perhaps if you indented the blocks and bold italicised the option titles. Breaks between them would also be welcome.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Quote Originally Posted by NineThePuma View Post
    Choosing your element should occur at level 1. Not level 2. It makes Monk seem like a bit of a dip, but in practice I think that delaying it will potentially cripple monks who are SAD.
    Quote Originally Posted by ScrambledBrains View Post
    I will second the movement of the element choice to first level, though I cannot comment on anything else as I have no experience PEACH-ing.
    Actually, one of the iterations of the chassis had Elemental Way at 1st level, but that was when Flurry of Blows was the sole "martial style" for the Monk. If I were to shift it back to 1st level, that level would be overloaded (the ki power, the martial training and the elemental way, compared to only 2 abilities at 2nd level), whereas as it stands both levels are slightly "balanced" in terms of loading. I would have to shift Martial Training to 2nd level in order to prevent that loading, but that means they won't get good BAB until 2nd level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive View Post
    Well...I like some aspectsof this, though i'm struggling to tell you what those were;

    It's the presentaion. I managed to read it once for a flavour of the thing, but i can't bring myself to read it again for greater specifics because i just can't seem to see one option from another in hose big blocks of text, i'm just falling back on memory. Perhaps if you indented the blocks and bold italicised the option titles. Breaks between them would also be welcome.

    Sorry to be a moaning Myrtle but I genuinely like your brews, i just can't read them half the time...
    Nah, any comment is welcome. I tend to stick closely (not tightly, tho) to the format presented in the WotC supplements, which while holding indent, they don't use bold-italizing for sub-sections within the class abilities themselves. Bold-italizing is left for spell-like abilities given as class features, and while no SLA is given on its own as a class feature (Abundant Step's Dim Door-esque ability is given as a supernatural feature), it may be a tad confusing for those accustomed to WotC's format.

    Now, I did ask for suggestions on how to make the material less complex, so aside from those recommendations: if I were to do those changes, would it seem less complex or does it need some more working? Even with the reformatting, the content takes about two posts and one-third of another, so the material is huge. Even with the formatting vices, most people have read the content from other material I've posted and worked it nicely, but this one is large enough that most people are taking care on reading it. It's a first step, but I'd like to see if it would be enough steps or if it requires a bit more. I was gonna present a "cheat sheet" of sorts to define the "five/six pillars" of the class (Martial Training, Elemental Way, Way of the Beast, Philosophy and the Ways Unite, with Art of the Deadly Wind/Deadly Weapons as an unofficial sixth) and provide a frame of reference for the material, so if you still find it confusing, that at least could help on simplifying the reading at the very least.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    My point is, i can see what you're attempting but the only reason WotC got away with it was paragraph breaks and indented paragraph leads, which this forum can't do.

    If you're intent on not doing bolding, change the colour of the italic stuff. I still recommend indenting the options.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes: unraveling the complexity

    This is gonna be a bit out of order, but even I consider the class a bit too complex to play. Before any other discussion, please consider this "digested" schematic of the Monk before any other discussion.

    As I mentioned on the "designer's notes" (those little SPOILER notes below every class feature), there are five (potentially six) pillars that define the wealth of options every Monk has. The format, however, doesn't help that much (and because of the wealth of content, I can't handle as much formatting as possible, as well as attempting to have a formatting style resembling that of the original content), so I'll attempt to resume all points at the simplest terms.

    Mundane abilities
    Unarmed Strike: Imp. Unarmed Strike + increased unarmed strike damage.

    AC Bonus: +1 AC/4th, 8th, 12th, 14th, 17th, 20th. Add Wis or Con to AC.

    Martial Training: Treat as if having full BAB when using unarmed strikes or special monk weapons.

    Evasion (2nd): as Rogue

    Wholeness of Body (2nd): heal (Monk level x Wis, Str or Con) HP as swift action, pool replenishes at beginning of combat encounter.

    Fast Movement (3rd): +10 ft. to land speed (not enhancement bonus) every 3 levels

    Touching the Ripples (3rd): blindsense up to 30 ft. (or blindsense range +30 ft.), defeated by sound. At 15th level, blindsense up to 60 ft. and blindsight up to 30 ft. (or blindsense range x2 and/or blindsight range +30 ft.), defeated by sound.

    Art of Deadly Wind (4th): When using dart, sling or shuriken, damage as unarmed strike (Monk level -3) and range increment 50 ft., +10 ft./4 levels

    Ki Strike (4th): unarmed strikes become magic weapons (+1 enhancement bonus/4 levels), lawful-aligned at 8th level, adamantine at 12th level

    Slow Fall (5th): ignore 20 ft. falling distance, +20 ft. fall/4 levels above 5th, full range at 16th level.

    Purity of Body (5th): immunity to poisons and diseases

    Resilient Body (7th): Energy resistance 10 against single element; Energy resistance 20 against 1 element and 10 against 2 elements at 11th level; Energy resistance 30 against 1 element, 20 against 2 elements and 10 against opposing element at 15th level.

    Deadly Weapons (8th):
    When using certain weapons, deal damage as unarmed strike (Monk level -3)

    Walk the River and the Clouds (8th): Permanent Air Walk and Water Walk (works on all liquids) but must end in solid surface (concentration as move action or grapple); Balance DC 25/30 to remain afloat in water/air by moving at half speed (-10 to check to move at full speed).

    Improved Evasion (9th): as Rogue special ability

    Diamond Body (11th): DR 10/Magic or Chaotic; DR 20/Epic and Chaotic at 20th level.

    Abundant Step (12th): move at half speed as swift action (replaces 5 ft. step, ignore AoO when moving out of threatened space)

    Diamond Soul (13th): SR 10 + Monk level

    Timeless Body (17th): gain no penalties to ability scores by means of age and cannot be magically aged.

    Diamond Mind (18th): immunity to all mind-affecting spells and effects, may be affected by beneficial effects

    Perfect Self (20th): become Native Outsider, keep subtypes

    Spoiler
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    "Mundane abilities" are all of the Monk's passive bonuses and extraordinary abilities. They are presented in the simplest terms around, before formatting.

    Of all the abilities, only Ki Strike and Diamond Mind are supernatural abilities, and thus cancelled by the lack of ki on the pool (until 20th level, at least). The rest are always active, and require no action from the player (aside from Martial Training, which is a passive bonus to attacks).


    Ki Abilities
    Ki Power: Daily Ki pool equal to class level + Wis, Str or Con

    Way of the Elements (2nd): spend 1 Ki, imbue unarmed strike with elemental energy for (Monk level/2) rounds

    Wholeness of Body (2nd):
    spend 1 Ki, gain special quality based on choice of element

    Fleeting Step (3rd): spend 1 Ki, move up to land speed (+10 ft. speed increase for Air Monks)

    Touching the Ripples (3rd): spend 1 Ki, gain Blindsight (defeated by sound) within 30 ft. (within 60 ft. at 13th level)

    Ki Strike (4th): spend Ki, gain +1 to enhancement bonus, Axiomatic weapon property, or ignore all damage reduction (1 Ki for 1 property, 2 Ki for two properties, 3 Ki for all three) for (Monk level/2) rounds

    Slow Fall (5th): spend 1 Ki, gain Feather Fall until landing

    Unburdened Path (5th): as Freedom of Movement, lasts 1 round; (Monk level)/2 rounds at 14th level

    Still Mind (6th): as immediate action, spend 1 Ki to become immune to fear or mind-affecting effects until next round.

    Resilient Body (7th): expend 1 Ki to gain +10 energy resistance (attuned element at 7th, element of choice at 11th) for (Monk level) rounds; energy resistance +10 for all energy types (except Sonic) at 15th level

    Walk the River and the Clouds (8th): spend 1 Ki to remain afloat for (Monk level)*10 minutes

    Diamond Body (11th): Spend 1 ki, increase DR to 15/magic and chaotic by (Monk level/2 + Wis or Str modifier) rounds, Earth Monks gain 15/chaotic and adamantine

    Diamond Soul (13th):
    Spend 1 ki, SR becomes (Monk level + Wis, Con or Str modifier +10)

    Timeless Body (17th): Spend 3 ki, ignore effect of spell that affects time

    Empty Body (19th): Spend 1 Ki, become ethereal for (Monk level)/2 rounds, may attack with unarmed strikes or special monk weapons while ethereal.

    Spoiler
    Show
    These are all of the abilities that expend points from the ki pool. As you can see, while some retain the 1 round duration of the base ki mechanic, you'll usually see half your Monk levels in terms of duration, so they become better as you progress through levels, but with 5 rounds you can keep several abilities online.

    While there are other abilities that consume ki that aren't located here (they're placed on their own section), you'll notice that giving an arbitrary number of daily uses to every skill would be a nightmare, and potentially causing many abilities to retain turns because of their lack of use, while others would be consumed via nova'ing. Ki exists to provide a pool that most of the time duplicates the effect of spells, but several times provides a unique supernatural benefit.


    Combat Styles:
    Cobra Strike
    Bonus Feat: Spring Attack
    Level Bonus: +1d6 damage/5 levels on one attack when charging or using Spring Attack
    10th level boon: spread damage points between attacks when charging or using Spring Attack, Bounding Assault or Rapid Blitz

    Denying Stance
    Bonus Feat: Combat Reflexes
    Level Bonus: +1 on opposed disarm/trip checks
    10th level boon: daze enemy instead of dealing damage with AoO (DC=damage dealt)

    Empty Hand
    Bonus Feat: Improved Natural Attack (unarmed strike)
    Level Bonus: +2 damage with unarmed strikes
    10th level boon: as Decisive Strike (PHB II)

    Flurry of Blows
    Bonus Feat: Snap Kick
    Level Bonus: Penalty on Snap Kick reduced by 1 (5th and 15th level only)
    10th level boon: make extra attack at highest BAB on full attack action

    Invisible Eye
    Bonus Feat: Blind-Fight
    Level Bonus: +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls when blinded
    10th level boon: roll three times for concealment; three successes outline the creature for 1 round

    Meditation of War
    Bonus Feat: Stunning Fist
    Level Bonus: +1 to Stunning Fist DC
    10th level boon: creature succeeding on Stunning Fist saving throw by 5 or less are dazed for 1 round

    Overwhelming Assault
    Bonus Feat: Power Attack (works on unarmed strikes and special monk weapons)
    Level Bonus: +1 to opposed bull rush and overrun checks, ignore 1 point of hardness when making sunder attempt
    10th level boon: when using Power Attack with unarmed strikes or special monk weapons, gain +2 to damage for every -1 to attack. Monk is treated as if having full BAB when using Power Attack

    Passive Way
    Bonus Feat: Combat Expertise
    Level Bonus: +1 insight bonus on AC/five levels when fighting defensively, using total defense or Combat Expertise feat
    10th level boon: when fighting defensively, using the total defense action or the Combat Expertise feat, any creature that attacks Monk takes an AoO

    Vicious Grip
    Bonus Feat: Improved Grapple
    Level Bonus: +1 bonus on all opposed grapple checks, damage when grappling
    10th level boon: treated as one size category larger when making a grapple check, which stacks with other abilities that increase size.

    Spoiler
    Show
    This is pillar #1 of the Monk's options, which resemble the Fighting Style Monk variants from Unearthed Arcana. This time, they were made into replacements for Flurry of Blows, and drawing from the Ranger's combat styles as well. All follow, as you can see, the same format: a bonus feat, a level-based bonus and a boon at 10th level which relates to the chosen feat.

    You MUST choose one of the styles at first level. You may, if you desire, replace the 10th level boon for a second combat style, but the level bonus for that second style will be equal to (Monk level -10). That way, you can "master" one style or dabble in two. As you can see, stuff like Snap Kick stacks with Imp. Natural Attack or Spring Attack, so choosing two styles instead of one isn't as bad as mastering that one style.


    Way of the Elements:
    Air
    Ability Score: Dexterity (attack and damage rolls, disarm or trip checks)
    Elemental Fist: Electricity
    Wholeness of Body: +5 dodge bonus to AC and Reflex saves
    Art of Deadly Wind: +20 ft. increase to range increment per 4 levels; add Dexterity to damage rolls
    Resilient Body: Electricity resistance, opposed by acid
    Walk the River and the Clouds: remain afloat in Air
    Finishing Move: 1d6 electricity damage/2 class levels, Will save or paralyzed for 1 round
    Extra traits: +10 ft. land speed (Fleeting Step); ignore 10 ft. falling distance (Slow Fall); +10 ft. to increase in land speed (Fast Movement); Freedom of Movement for 2 rounds (or Monk Level rounds at 14th level) (Unburdened Path)

    Earth
    Ability Score: Constitution (AC bonus, saving throw DCs, Stunning Fist DC, Diamond Soul)
    Elemental Fist: Acid
    Wholeness of Body: DR 5/adamantine
    Art of Deadly Wind: darts, sling bullets, shuriken and stones deal full unarmed strike damage; take no penalty when using stones with slings
    Resilient Body: Acid resistance, opposed by electricity
    Walk the River and the Clouds: remain afloat in acid, take no damage from walking in acid
    Finishing Move: 1d6 acid damage/2 class levels, Fortitude or nauseated for (Monk level/2) rounds
    Extra traits: -10 ft. to increase in land speed (Fast Movement, gained at 6th level); tremorsense 30 ft. (60 ft. at 13th level) (Touching the Ripples); take one less dice of damage while falling (Slow Fall); Mind Blank effect for (Monk Level/2) rounds (Still Mind); DR 10/Chaotic or Adamantine, increased to DR 15/Chaotic and Adamantine by spending 1 Ki (Diamond Body); DR 20/Epic, Chaotic and Adamantine (Perfect Self + Diamond Body)

    Fire
    Ability Score: Strength (1-1/2 damage, Ki pool, saving throw DCs, Stunning Fist DC, Diamond Soul)
    Elemental Fist: Fire
    Wholeness of Body: +5 competence bonus on attack and damage rolls
    Art of Deadly Wind: use Strength instead of Dexterity for attack rolls; 1-1/2 Strength for damage rolls
    Resilient Body: Fire resistance, opposed by cold
    Walk the River and the Clouds: remain afloat on lava, take no damage from walking in lava
    Finishing Move: 1d6 fire damage/2 levels on 15 ft. cone (as Burning Hands), Reflex save or catch on fire
    Extra traits: concealment (20% miss chance) for 1 round (Fleeting Step); return fear or mind-affecting spells to caster (Still Mind); 5 ft. radius burst of flame (1d6/2 levels fire damage) when teleporting (Abundant Step)

    Water
    Ability Score: Wisdom (attack and damage rolls, bull rush, overrun and trip checks)
    Elemental Fist: Cold
    Wholeness of Body: +5 bonus on all saving throws
    Art of Deadly Wind: use Wisdom for attack and damage rolls
    Resilient Body: Cold resistance, opposed by fire
    Walk the River and the Clouds: remain afloat on water
    Finishing Move: 1d6 cold damage/2 class levels, Reflex save or slowed for (Monk level)/2 rounds
    Extra traits: +10 ft. to increase in land speed (Fast Movement); Blindsense/Blindsight not defeated by lack of sound (Touching the Ripples); Freedom of Movement for 2 rounds (or Monk Level rounds at 14th level) (Unburdened Path); SR 15+Monk Level (Diamond Step)

    Spoiler
    Show
    Pillar #2 of the retool, this pillar cements most of the others because of how it fundamentally alters how you'll play the Monk.

    You MUST choose one of the elements at 2nd level, but you must plan it from 1st level. This is your Primary Element. It applies to all of the abilities you see mentioned above.

    You MUST choose one of the elements at 10th level. This is your Secondary Element, and applies only to Elemental Fist, Finishing Move and the Ways Unite (see below).

    The "Elemental Fist" ability is the elemental property you add via expending a point of ki on the Elemental Way ability (see Ki abilities, above), and it's not an ability of its own, in case you were wondering.

    The Extra Traits section implies all other modifications based on the choice of element that apply to these abilities.


    Way of the Beasts
    Clever Monkey
    Level Bonus: +2 to Climb checks
    Extra Traits: Trap Sense
    Ki Benefit: Spider Climb at (Monk Level/2) CL; climb speed (half base land speed)

    Devious Predator
    Level Bonus: +5 to Hide and Move Silently checks to cancel penalties for movement
    Extra Traits: Hide/Move Silently bonus applies to attacks (choose 3 times), remain invisible after attacking (as Greater Invisibility at [Monk Level/2] CL)
    Ki Benefit: Invisibility at (Monk Level/2) CL

    Elegant Crane
    Level Bonus: +2 on Diplomacy checks when speaking as a full-round action
    Extra Traits: Speak Language
    Ki Benefit: Suggestion at (Monk Level) CL; DC = Diplomacy check -10

    Faithful Hound
    Level Bonus: +2 on reflexive Listen and Spot checks
    Extra Traits: Uncanny Dodge, Imp. Uncanny Dodge
    Ki Benefit: Scent, Track feat, apply bonus to Survival checks

    Graceful Swan
    Level Bonus: +2 on Swim checks
    Extra Traits: Hold breath for (Concentration + 2xConstitution) rounds, make Concentration checks instead of Constitution checks, battle underwater without losing air
    Ki Benefit: Water Breathing at (Monk Level) CL; swim speed (half base land speed)

    Leaping Dragon
    Level Bonus: +2 on Jump checks
    Extra Traits: Always make a running leap, +10 on Jump checks if running, halve DC of high jump checks and ignore maximum distance (choose 3 times), add 5 feet to leaping distance with quarterstaff or polearm with reach
    Ki Benefit: Levitate at (Monk Level) CL; move with Jump checks

    Patient Tortoise
    Level Bonus: +3 HP, +1 Concentration checks
    Extra Traits: None
    Ki Benefit: Make Concentration checks instead of Fort/Will saves 1/round for the remainder of the encounter

    Sagacious Owl
    Level Bonus: +2 on all Knowledge checks
    Extra Traits: make Knowledge checks untrained; use Wis instead of Int for Knowledge checks, lore (choose 3 times; Monk Level + Wis)
    Ki Benefit: Legend Lore at (Monk Level) CL; must have object or person at hand, creature level or CR equal to (Monk Level -4) or 11, whichever is higher

    Tenacious Badger
    Level Bonus:+2 to Intimidate checks to demoralize enemies
    Extra Traits: +2 to damage when under 50% HP
    Ki Benefit: Rage for (Monk Level)/2 rounds as (Monk Level -3) barbarian

    Spoiler
    Show
    Pillar #3 of the retool, this one focuses on the "skill-monkey" aspect of the Monk, boosting a single skill's benefit and providing thematic abilities. Essentially all ki abilities gained through this class feature are based on spells, except for Patient Tortoise which is based off the save-based Diamond Mind counters.

    You may choose ONE of the ways for every THREE class levels, starting from 3rd level. You can choose the SAME WAY, or a DIFFERENT WAY each time you reach a level that's a multiple of 3.

    "Level benefit" is the bonus to the specified skill. The bonus increases EACH TIME YOU CHOOSE THE WAY. Thus, a Monk that chooses Leaping Dragon 3 times gains a Jump bonus of +6 (+2 bonus, times 3).

    Extra Traits are secondary bonuses acquired by taking the way. Most of these also improve each time you choose one of the ways. For example, a Monk that chooses Elegant Crane three times may learn three languages as if it had spent 3 ranks in Speak Language. Some traits are acquired just by choosing the way once, while others are acquired if you choose the way three or more times.


    Philosophy
    Path of Harmonious Balance (Light)
    Benefit: Aura of Peace (as Sanctuary)
    Ki Benefit: Healing burst in 30 ft. range (heal 1d4/2 level HP)
    Perfect Self: fast healing 5

    Path of the Riddle of Equilibrium (Balance)
    Benefit: attune to good or evil alignment-based abilities
    Ki Benefit: targeted Dispel Magic as part of attack, max +20 to dispel check
    Perfect Self: attune to positive/negative energy, all alignment-based abilities

    Path of Ineffable Dominion (Dark)
    Benefit: Frightful Presence on creatures with CR equal or greater than Monk Level +2
    Ki Benefit: fatigue creature with attack, gain 5+target HD temporary hit points for (Monk Level)/2 rounds
    Perfect Self: on natural 20 attack roll, creature makes Fort save or die; creature immune to instant death takes 100 damage

    Spoiler
    Show
    Pillar #4 of the retool, this one deals with the philosophy of the Monk. Remember: Light is not Good (it's passive), Dark is not Evil (it's only aggressive), and Neutral IS Balanced (between passivity and aggressiveness).

    As you can see, the benefit is always active and a (Su) ability, whereas the ki benefit requires activation (and is usually a standard action). Perfect Self is improved through the Monk's philosophy, not its choice of elemental way.


    Way Between the Ways:
    Aligning the Heavens (Water/Balance): +1 bonus to caster level, manifester level, meldshaper level or initiator level for (Monk Level)/2 rounds on allies within 30 ft.

    All-Consuming Flame (Fire/Dark): Reflex save or catch on fire, take 1d6/3 levels fire damage for (Monk level)/2 rounds

    Dance of the Clouds (Air/Balance): as Blur spell for (Monk level)/2 rounds

    Difficulty at the Beginning (Water/Light): as Lesser Restoration when using healing burst

    Grasp the Earth Dragon (Earth/Balance): immunity to daze, stun and sleep for (Monk level)/2 rounds on allies within 30 ft.

    Lifting the Veil (Air/Light): as Remove Blindness when using healing burst

    Porous Soul (Earth/Dark): -1/3 levels penalty on Armor Class and Fortitude saves for (Monk level)/2 rounds

    Restoring the Balance (Fire/Light): as Remove Curse when using healing burst

    Static Charge (Air/Dark): -1/3 levels penalty to attack rolls, damage rolls, saves vs. stun for (Monk level)/2 rounds

    The Receptive Earth (Earth/Light): as Remove Disease, plus remove poisons, when using healing burst

    Walk the Sun (Fire/Balance): as Heroism on allies within 30 ft. for (Monk Level)/2 rounds

    Winter's Chill (Water/Dark): -1/3 levels penalty to all damage rolls and Reflex saving throws for (Monk level)/2 rounds

    Spoiler
    Show
    Way between the Ways is a way to provide the Monk with abilities aside from just punching. They are drawn from DDO, but you may see some similarities to Final Fantasy as well (i.e. while Path of Harmonious Balance grants Mantra, Way between the Ways grants Stigma Magic) or Ragnarok Online (Path of the Riddle of Equilibrium draws inspiration from the Sura buffs).

    Light and Dark Monks choose FIVE of these abilities; Balance monks choose SIX of these abilities. At 8th level, Light and Dark Monks choose SIX of these abilities while Balance Monks choose EIGHT.

    The abilities you get are chosen as follows: if your elemental path is Fire and your philosophy is Dark, you choose all bold abilities and the single dark orange unbolded, unitalized ability. You don't choose the italized dark orange ability because that's a light ability. At 10th level, let's say you choose Earth as secondary element, so you gain the olive unbolded, unitalized ability.

    If your elemental path is Air and your philosophy is Balance, then you choose all unbolded, unitalized abilities plus the lime colored bold and italized abilities. At 10th level, let's say you choose Water, so you get both deep sky blue abilities, for a total of eight abilities.

    The code is as follows:
    Lime = Air
    Olive = Earth
    Dark Orange = Fire
    Deep Sky Blue = Water
    Italized = Path of Harmonious Balance (Light)
    Normal = Path of the Riddle of Equilibrium (Balance)
    Bold = Path of Ineffable Dominion (Dark)


    The Ways Unite:

    Path of Conqueror: ignore resistance to energy types, deals half damage with energy attacks against creatures immune to energy type

    Path of Denial: ignore immunity to daze, fear, stun, energy drain, instant death, etc.; creature with immunity gains a bonus to saves equal to (10-Monk's Wis,Con,Str; minimum +0)

    Path of Embodiment: immunity to primary element, heal 1/3rd of damage taken, ignore weakness from subtype

    Spoiler
    Show
    Pillar #5 and final choice of the Monk, this is the last choice you have to make. It determines what "super-benefit" you want to get.

    You MUST choose one of these abilities at 15th level.


    --

    Seen in this way, building a Monk should be far simpler. Ideally, there should be thousands of different Monk builds, with Way of the Beasts being the one option that makes the builds different. You can have at least 3 completely different Monk builds where every choice of path differs, and at least 10 working builds ready to be found just by going Monk 20. Hopefully this will work as a tool to build your Monk, while the full write-up above adds the fluff and the spice to the class.

    If you have any doubts about the abilities, please use this as reference, as it's the simplest way to explain each ability for what it stands. You may quote from here, from the main document above, or from both if there's a question or comment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Excuses for the double reply, but the post above was meant to be a separate post; this will deal with the unanswered posts:

    @MMA: it was pretty hard to work a format, but at least all the chunks of abilities should be easier to read. In order to make the benefits from the Elemental Way noticeable, they are color-coded based on the element.

    Indentation might be a problem, since just adding formatting added even more characters to the posts, which meant I had to cut some of the "fat" of the designer's notes. I find these are important if only because they describe in further detail what the abilities do, and also add a bit of humor (I like my 'brews to allow a chuckle every now and then). Cutting them out is something I don't intend to do, but if it's still hard to read, you may use the post above (which I intended to do in the first place, by the way) for any questions regarding the class.
    Retooler of D&D 3.5 (and 5e/Next) content. See here for more.
    Now with a comprehensive guide for 3.5 Paladin players porting to Pathfinder. Also available for 5th Edition
    On Lawful Good:
    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    I might be wrong but...doesnt Air get shfted on a few abilities?
    they're usually based of wisdom, so water is all set
    and earh tends to change the bonus to constitution, whilst fire changes it to strenght.
    but very seldom do you say that air changes it to dexterity.
    is that implied and i'm just being dim, or are you looking at it that Air's other abilities make up for the lack of the passives and such working as well?

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    I will add to YAY! More stuff from a venerable master of the Homebrew community. Stuff like this is what makes me ashamed of the minor efforts I have made. (And refused to post)

    Onward!

    A few minor copypasta nitpicks:
    Races: You wrote classes instead of races in the first sentance. Also describing the races you used "are fit" a few times. You maybe mean "are a good fit"?

    Way of the Elements: You can (and should) capitalize any word after a colon.

    Fast Movement: Needs reformatting to be in line with the other class abilities, also is the ability (Su) or (Ex)? The Designers notes say not (Ex) but the ability tag says (Ex).

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Oppth Double!
    Last edited by Meriss; 2012-01-02 at 09:55 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Having read it and gone back and compared it to the original text, the summaries you give of the Combat Styles and Animal Styles are actually far clearer in the summaries section above than their wordier originals. Given their modularity, I'm going to suggest using a format that is far more modular and overall spell-like to present these abilities, given the number of the damn things; I'm pretty sure this can be made playable, as long as you're willing to sacrifice your trademark longhand style for it.

    I shall demonstrate my suggested text usage with Clever Monkey, that you simply use this version of the text, slightly modified to include a little flavour, for the core entry as it's more easily used:

    Clever Monkey
    As the monkey leaps amongst trees to evade ground hazards, so does the monk leaps her way from hazards and seeks the upper ground.
    Bonus Per Selection: +2 Climb, Trapsense +1
    Ki Ability [1]: Climb speed equal to half land speed for 1 round/two monk levels

    294 Characters. [inc spaces]

    Original Version:
    558 character [inc spaces]

    Similarly, the whole section on the Way Between Ways was far clearer with the colour coding and explanation from the collapsed box from your summary. I'd trim some of the flavour [intense flavour makes a class seem more like a build than it needs to be a lot of the time] and use the way its written in the summary, plus a little bit of flavour to make them more concise and easier to read.
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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Okay, having read some more, and read your summary...

    I like it a lot. It's very complicated, and honestly I feel like you should do as Mulletmanalive says and alter the styles to a different format (The one given is alright).



    You've also managed to inspire me about my Soulknife fix that has been on the back burner for ages. I think I might yoink some concepts from here (Selectable boost to Skills? Specific Combat Styles?) and your Ranger/Samurai fixes.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Quote Originally Posted by zegram 33 View Post
    I might be wrong but...doesnt Air get shfted on a few abilities?
    they're usually based of wisdom, so water is all set
    and earh tends to change the bonus to constitution, whilst fire changes it to strenght.
    but very seldom do you say that air changes it to dexterity.
    is that implied and i'm just being dim, or are you looking at it that Air's other abilities make up for the lack of the passives and such working as well?
    Ideally, all three styles work by focusing on one ability score and having two as secondary. Air and Earth were a bit troubling to manage, for different reasons.

    Fire and Water were simpler as they either went with Str/Dex/Con and Wis/Dex/Con respectively. In the case of Fire, I needed Strength to be worthwhile, so I decided for a more "physical", offensive-inclined Monk whereas Water inclines for the more "mystic" monk.

    Air and Earth dealt with two extremely good ability scores. In the case of Air, Dexterity is a stat that affects ranged attacks, initiative, Reflex, AC (and Monks without armor need all the AC they can get), and various skills (including stealth and the ability to escape). If I decided to apply Dex to the saving throw DC of various abilities, then Air Monk would be far too focused on Dexterity, whereas my intention was to keep it as Dex/Wis/Con. I will admit, I decided to make Air a bit "shafted" in the sense of how Dex applies because of how the ability score applies to various things, and also because Air originally had a lot of applicable abilities; in comparison, I had to apply stuff such as the fiery burst on Abundant Step and the concealment ability, as Fire had too little abilities. Earth, on the other hand, would have made the Monk a bit TOO Con-intensive, so it's mostly Con/Str/Wis.

    To wit: I felt Air was too strong a choice, because of how many things key off Dexterity, so I decided to keep Wisdom as important. Do note that the focus on Dexterity opens up both the Rapid Shot path and the Two-Weapon Fighting path, so you'll be using your full-attack actions to deal as many attacks as possible, and you'll still want Wisdom for the remaining AC bonus, Will saves and bonuses to perception skills.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meriss View Post
    A few minor copypasta nitpicks:
    Races: You wrote classes instead of races in the first sentance. Also describing the races you used "are fit" a few times. You maybe mean "are a good fit"?
    Yes, I used "fit" with that intention (X race fits Fire Monks, Y race fits Earth Monks, etc.)

    Way of the Elements: You can (and should) capitalize any word after a colon.
    Oddly enough, I did that as well on Art of the Deadly Wind, but rectified on Way of the Beasts.
    Fast Movement: Needs reformatting to be in line with the other class abilities, also is the ability (Su) or (Ex)? The Designers notes say not (Ex) but the ability tag says (Ex).
    Actually, what I meant was that Fast Movement isn't an Enhancement bonus (core Monk has FM as an enhancement bonus to speed, so it doesn't stack with Haste). Thus, you can get from 30 ft. to 80 ft. land speed at 5th level with Haste. With Air or Water, you're three times faster than the average mortal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive View Post
    Having read it and gone back and compared it to the original text, the summaries you give of the Combat Styles and Animal Styles are actually far clearer in the summaries section above than their wordier originals. Given their modularity, I'm going to suggest using a format that is far more modular and overall spell-like to present these abilities, given the number of the damn things; I'm pretty sure this can be made playable, as long as you're willing to sacrifice your trademark longhand style for it.

    I shall demonstrate my suggested text usage with Clever Monkey, that you simply use this version of the text, slightly modified to include a little flavour, for the core entry as it's more easily used:

    Clever Monkey
    As the monkey leaps amongst trees to evade ground hazards, so does the monk leaps her way from hazards and seeks the upper ground.
    Bonus Per Selection: +2 Climb, Trapsense +1
    Ki Ability [1]: Climb speed equal to half land speed for 1 round/two monk levels

    294 Characters. [inc spaces]

    Original Version:
    558 character [inc spaces]
    I might give it a try, but the formatting seems a bit similar to a maneuver (which it isn't), or a 4E ability. Particularly, the first impression was "4E formatting"? My biggest concern is that it'll break up formatting (i.e. Martial Training, Way of the Beasts and the Way between the Ways will have one format, Elemental Way and The Ways Unite will keep the traditional format), thus breaking some of the aesthetic. I'm unsure of whether I should keep the abilities sandwiched between the class description, or make separate sections and use the formatting, which would seem a bit more elegant. I have three posts and 150,000 characters to play with, and I find a nice intermediate solution.

    Similarly, the whole section on the Way Between Ways was far clearer with the colour coding and explanation from the collapsed box from your summary. I'd trim some of the flavour [intense flavour makes a class seem more like a build than it needs to be a lot of the time] and use the way its written in the summary, plus a little bit of flavour to make them more concise and easier to read.
    For some reason, I thought I was bad with flavor. The Way Between the Ways already has a pretty concise explanation, and I have to specify that there are alternate ways to activate the abilities; for example, if I were to put it as per the summary, people wouldn't figure you can combine the healing burst ability of the Light path with one of the Element+Light abilities (instead of touching), or that you can activate one of the Elemental+Dark abilities via melee attacks.

    That bit about "flavor -> build" intrigues me. I attempted to lead the flavor instead of forcing it, but I guess I jumped the gun a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by NineThePuma View Post
    Okay, having read some more, and read your summary...

    I like it a lot. It's very complicated, and honestly I feel like you should do as Mulletmanalive says and alter the styles to a different format (The one given is alright).
    Well, going just from how it's formatted, it's pretty obvious the class is pretty complex, but I was thinking on complexity based on the multitude of options. MMA nailed it on the modularity (mix & match abilities, make a build out of them), which is what I've attempted to do with the other classes, and by providing all those options I figured that, regardless of simple formatting, people would need some help before they can dig in.

    You've also managed to inspire me about my Soulknife fix that has been on the back burner for ages. I think I might yoink some concepts from here (Selectable boost to Skills? Specific Combat Styles?) and your Ranger/Samurai fixes.
    Go ahead if you want. I'm a bit torn about releasing a half-baked Soulknife retool or turn it into an archetype for the Psychic Warrior (I'm not a fan of Pathfinder, but the name of the concept and the way it's presented in Unearthed Arcana pretty much nails it). Soulbound Weapon is already good, but I'd go for sacrificing some of the accessibility to powers for the ability to craft a mind blade. The class, on the other hand, has supernatural modifications and eventually you end up with imaginary weapons (I kid you not), but I don't feel very excited about the class, unlike what I did with the Divine Mind which had a feel of its own (distinct from the Project Heretica Paladin or the Psychic Warrior).

    Do recall that, if you're working combat styles to the Soulknife, incline a bit more towards the Samurai than to the Ranger, perhaps providing abilities that expend power points (Bladewind and Knife to the Soul come to mind).
    Retooler of D&D 3.5 (and 5e/Next) content. See here for more.
    Now with a comprehensive guide for 3.5 Paladin players porting to Pathfinder. Also available for 5th Edition
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
    T.G. Oskar profile by Specter.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Only addressing this bit because I'm not sure how to handle anything else (or even if I should handle anything else...)
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Go ahead if you want. I'm a bit torn about releasing a half-baked Soulknife retool or turn it into an archetype for the Psychic Warrior (I'm not a fan of Pathfinder, but the name of the concept and the way it's presented in Unearthed Arcana pretty much nails it). Soulbound Weapon is already good, but I'd go for sacrificing some of the accessibility to powers for the ability to craft a mind blade. The class, on the other hand, has supernatural modifications and eventually you end up with imaginary weapons (I kid you not), but I don't feel very excited about the class, unlike what I did with the Divine Mind which had a feel of its own (distinct from the Project Heretica Paladin or the Psychic Warrior).

    Do recall that, if you're working combat styles to the Soulknife, incline a bit more towards the Samurai than to the Ranger, perhaps providing abilities that expend power points (Bladewind and Knife to the Soul come to mind).
    I recently got someone to explain some bits of how 3.0 psionics worked, and the 3.0 Soulknife was actually pretty good. It got its own manifesting (admittedly, 3.0 manifesting is awkward) progression and was a bit like a Duskblade mixed with a rogue, turned psychic. I humbly suggest you take some time to look at it, as I've found that looking at it from the perspective of "what was it originally?" makes it less horrible.

    Here's the class table for the 3.0 Soulknife, just so you can see what I mean.

    Spoiler
    Show
    {table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|PP|0|1|2|3
    1st|+0|+0|+2|+0|Mind-blade, sneak attack +1d6|+3|—|—|—|—
    2nd|+1|+0|+3|+0|Imbed power, throw mind-blade|+5|—|—|—|—
    3rd|+2|+1 |+3|+1|Sneak attack +2d6|+5|—|—|—|—
    4th|+3|+1|+4|+1|Imbed psionic attack|+5|1|—|—|—
    5th|+3|+1|+4|+1|Sneak attack +3d6|+7|2|—|—|—
    6th|+4|+2|+5|+2|Sever life, free draw|+7|2|1|—|—
    7th|+5|+2 |+5|+2|Sneak attack +4d6|+7|2|2|—|—
    8th|+6|+2 |+6|+2|Upgrade|+9|2|2|1|—
    9th|+6|+3 |+6|+3|Sneak attack +5d6|+9|2|2|2|—
    10th|+7|+3|+7|+3|Knife to the soul|+9|2|2|2|1[/table]


    It's really quite interesting to look at the abilities and try to see where the 3.5 Soulknife got its goods. Sneak Attack + Imbed Psionic Attack kinda-sorta looks like a precursor to Psychic Strike. If you squint.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    There are 729 172186884 possible combinations through the different "pillars".

    This is a good fix for the monk; of course, it does bring my little problem about never knowing when to multiclass out up...

    This entering Drunken Master? Epic.

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    Default Re: [3.5] The Retooled Monk Strikes Back: now with 150% more complexity!

    Oh yeah, by the way: I'm doing a slow transfer of all my existing homebrew into the (good) Dungeons & Dragons wiki, in case you hadn't noticed already through the Project Heretica page (which is hauntingly empty). The Retooled Monk can be seen here, and the Wiki format helps a LOT on understanding. Feel free to discuss things there, particularly if it's still too complex after switching to Wiki format.

    That doesn't mean I won't post anymore here, but at least there's another place where you can see my 'brews, with hyperlinks to boot (at least for the SRD stuff).
    Retooler of D&D 3.5 (and 5e/Next) content. See here for more.
    Now with a comprehensive guide for 3.5 Paladin players porting to Pathfinder. Also available for 5th Edition
    On Lawful Good:
    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
    T.G. Oskar profile by Specter.

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