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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    AgentPaper's Avatar

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    Jun 2008

    Default Monk Subclass: The Kensai

    Originally posted this in giles92's subclass thread, but decided I liked it enough to polish it up a bit and post it in it's own thread where more people are likely to see it. This obviously draws flavor from the 3.5 Kensai class, but also from general samurai tropes and themes.

    Monastic Tradition - Kensai
    The Kensai focuses his training on the mastery of a single weapon over all others, until it becomes a natural extension of himself and the line between warrior and weapon becomes blurred.

    Weapon Mastery
    When you choose this tradition at 3rd level, pick a non-heavy martial weapon. You become proficient with that type of weapon, and treat it as a monk weapon.

    Iaijutsu
    Starting at level 6, whenever you roll for initiative, you gain advantage on your first weapon attack with your chosen weapon that round. You also gain the benefits of the Alert feat. If you already have the Alert feat, you may choose another feat that you meet the prerequisites for instead.

    Extension of Self
    At level 11, you have become so attuned to your chosen weapon that it acts like an extension of your body. Whenever you could make an unarmed strike, such as through the Martial Arts feature or Flurry of Blows, you can instead use your chosen weapon for that attack instead.

    Decisive Strike
    At level 17, you gain the ability to make a single, decisive attack. As an action, spend 5 ki points and make a weapon attack with your chosen weapon. Your attack roll for this attack is treated as a natural 20. The target of your attack can use its reaction to make a melee attack against you in response. After resolving both attacks, if you have more hit points left than the target, it is reduced to 0 hit points.

    Feedback is of course very welcome, whether positive or negative, though preferably constructive.

    If you have any other ideas for subclasses, don't be afraid to share, as I've found these are quite fun to make and much easier than a full-fledged class.
    Excellent avatar by Elder Tsofu.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Feb 2012

    Default Re: Monk Subclass: The Kensai

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    Monastic Tradition - Kensai
    The Kensai focuses his training on the mastery of a single weapon over all others, until it becomes a natural extension of himself and the line between warrior and weapon becomes blurred.

    Weapon Mastery
    When you choose this tradition at 3rd level, pick a non-heavy martial weapon. You become proficient with that type of weapon, and treat it as a monk weapon.

    Iaijutsu
    Starting at level 6, whenever you roll for initiative, you gain advantage on your first weapon attack with your chosen weapon that round. You also gain the benefits of the Alert feat. If you already have the Alert feat, you may choose another feat that you meet the prerequisites for instead.

    Extension of Self
    At level 11, you have become so attuned to your chosen weapon that it acts like an extension of your body. Whenever you could make an unarmed strike, such as through the Martial Arts feature or Flurry of Blows, you can instead use your chosen weapon for that attack instead.

    Decisive Strike
    At level 17, you gain the ability to make a single, decisive attack. As an action, spend 5 ki points and make a weapon attack with your chosen weapon. Your attack roll for this attack is treated as a natural 20. The target of your attack can use its reaction to make a melee attack against you in response. After resolving both attacks, if you have more hit points left than the target, it is reduced to 0 hit points.

    Feedback is of course very welcome, whether positive or negative, though preferably constructive.

    If you have any other ideas for subclasses, don't be afraid to share, as I've found these are quite fun to make and much easier than a full-fledged class.
    1. It is part of every Monk subclass that at the first tradition you have a Ki ability. This doesn't get one until your final tradition. What your first ability effectively does here is increase your damage die one step in most cases. It might be possible to get a ranged weapon here if that was part of the point and that is the best case scenario.
    2. One attack with advantage for the encounter and a free feat. I guess there is worse such as Wholeness of Body but keep in mind Shadow Step is also there and does this more often with 60 feet teleportation for free so long as they have dim light(which they can control). Also the Elemental Monk could have 2 of the following Fire Snake, Water Whip, Fist of Unbroken Air, Clench of the North Wind..etc.
    3. Ah, finally something that could get real use of a ranged weapon because otherwise at this point you can only have a slightly larger damage die here and different damage. However the Open Palm Monk will have a permanent sanctuary. The Way of the Four Elements also has fly and more blasting possibilities.
    4. This is actually quite the capstone but seeing that the reaction is an option I could see various reasons the DM not to choose to actually do so. Which means you spent 5 ki for a guaranteed hit with an extra 1d10 damage or 2d10 with a Half-Orc while losing an attack. Conversely the Open Hand Monk for 3 ki and at any range can give 10d10 necrotic damage at least, otherwise it does what this attempts. While the Elemental Monk options at this point are more expensive they have field changing potential at this in which depending on short rests could be more reliable the spell casters. Yes, the Shadow Monk has an underwhelming ability, but its free and mostly you can expect them to be a Rogue at this point(which may have been the intention).
    Last edited by Amnoriath; 2014-10-24 at 11:23 AM.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Oct 2014

    Default Re: Monk Subclass: The Kensai

    A rare homebrew that is conservative. I appreciate that at least.

    1: I agree to first ability is especially disappointing. I recommend also being able to spend Ki to increase hit roll and with your weapon after an attack roll. Perhaps a scaling value, +2 damage and attack base, increasing to +4 by level 20. Balanced against Battlemaster.

    2: You should probably just give the effects of Alert rather than the specific feat. Specific feats are never mentioned in the rules, and if they want to get the effects twice by stacking them it is probably fine.



    Overall, this is the sort of subclass I wanted to exist for Monk, and one I would definitely take for certain builds if I had the choice. Specifically, it makes for one of the more interesting Whip characters in the game.

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Dec 2014

    Default Re: Monk Subclass: The Kensai

    Halloa AgentPaper!

    It is thanks to your Kensai build that I was finally able to complete my "Path of the Weapons Master" Monk Subclass.

    I'd been struggling for weeks on what to build for its 17th level capstone feature, and your Decisive Strike created the inspiration.

    Again, thank you. I hope you enjoy what I've got.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Nov 2014

    Default Re: Monk Subclass: The Kensai

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    Weapon Mastery
    When you choose this tradition at 3rd level, pick a non-heavy martial weapon. You become proficient with that type of weapon, and treat it as a monk weapon.
    I think that, as an option, its alright; I'd add a slightly modified version of Iaijustu, something like this:

    Weapon Mastery
    When you choose this tradition at 3rd level, pick a single non-heavy martial weapon. You become proficient with that type of weapon, and treat it as a monk weapon. In addition, when rolling initiative, you can expend one ki point to have advantage on your initiative roll and your first attack roll made with a monk weapon.

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    Iaijutsu
    Starting at level 6, whenever you roll for initiative, you gain advantage on your first weapon attack with your chosen weapon that round. You also gain the benefits of the Alert feat. If you already have the Alert feat, you may choose another feat that you meet the prerequisites for instead.
    The above idea means that this needs something else. The ability to not be surprised isn't a bad idea; that way you don't need to worry about doubling up on feats, stacking shenanigans, and miscellaneous bonuses which I try to avoid in the case of 5e. I think dropping Extension of Self down to 6th level solves that idea, however; the most you'll get is one or two more damage out of it, which isn't bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    Extension of Self
    At level 11, you have become so attuned to your chosen weapon that it acts like an extension of your body. Whenever you could make an unarmed strike, such as through the Martial Arts feature or Flurry of Blows, you can instead use your chosen weapon for that attack instead.
    That also means this needs something else. Add in the cannot be surprised thing here. That seems fitting for a samurai type. Maybe also limited blindsight, or possibly a teleport-like ability (re: typical anime dodge out of the way of big boom; the vibe I'm getting from this is Jin from Samurai Champloo and Twilight Sazuka from Outlaw Star, so feel free to shout out if that's the wrong vibe). I'd also like to suggest adding in an extra that your attacks with your chosen weapon counts as magical, to make it a bit more potent.

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    Decisive Strike
    At level 17, you gain the ability to make a single, decisive attack. As an action, spend 5 ki points and make a weapon attack with your chosen weapon. Your attack roll for this attack is treated as a natural 20. The target of your attack can use its reaction to make a melee attack against you in response. After resolving both attacks, if you have more hit points left than the target, it is reduced to 0 hit points.
    You need a damage bonus for this to really kill someone. I'd instead base this off of either Death Strike from Rogue and/or Quivering Palm.

    Actually, how about something like this:

    When you use your Weapon Mastery effect to gain advantage on your first attack, you may expend an additional 5 ki points; if you would have hit, you are considered to have made a critical hit. The target of your attack must then make a Constitution saving throw at your ki save DC. They drop to 0 hit points on a failure, or take 7d10 additional damage on a successful save. The damage dealt is of the same type as the weapon used.

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