No Paper Tigers!!!!: The Monk Handbook

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I was researching ways to boost accuracy. Hybriding a stonefist monk with fighter tempest technique work well if you dual wield 2 off hand weapons. You get some ac back with the free two weapon defense. With unarmored agility my ac was 44 with nads of 43 42 40 with epic will and robust defenses. I had a +1 to hit over a typical dragonborn monk and +2 extra damage. Personally I think monk powers hit harder than fighter powers unless you're wielding axes, hammers or maces.
I'm really excited to see a new monk guide in the works!

I'd be interested to know people's opinion of the whip as a monk weapon. It's one handed, so you can still keep a parrying dagger in the off-hand, and the Whip Training feat lets you impose -2 to attacks against you by anyone you hit, which could be a nice way to keep all of those monsters you just nailed from retaliating.
Look good though it's one target. Excellent way to debuff enemies in a Five Storm when they get mad at you. Your monk powers do full damage. Pity the other whip multiclass feats are encounters or a daily. You'll need windrise ports if you want any other class to dip into.
I was actually wondering why the multiclass special weapons weren't listed in the implements section.  Whips are nice for the attack penalty.  Nets let you slow enemies which can combine nicely with the monk's mobility.

Bolas are a bit trickier as they cost you all you damage to immobilize the target.  Still, monks can probably take the damage hit better than most as their flurry of blows is a separate power which would be triggered by the null damage attack but not reduced to 0 damage itself.  I could see a monk using that plus a shift to get themselves away from a tough enemy.

On another note, monks are really tempting as hybrids for that very feature.  It lets you set up these specialty weapon-implement users without a special magic item, which is very nice.
Interested in a rambling collection of game ideas? Check out Schemes of the Dancing Chimera.
Another thing to note in the section about why Ki-Focus/Unarmed Strike is suboptimal is Dragonshards. I don't THINK I saw this called out above, but the +1/3/5 damage to all attacks (since they are all implement attacks) from the Shard of the Mage is pretty hard to pass up.

Regarding enchantments, the "Ki Weapon" enchantment is pretty much better than any Ki Focus, but the Staff of Ruin (or a Radiant staff) is even better (at +2 or later), since it would add a +2-6 item bonus to damage, and open up power attack as a good option (since many monk powers are "melee"), and staves are two-handed weapons.

Monks are strikers after all, and strikers are about damage. A staff-of-ruin-with-shard-of-mage monk gives up nothing (other than more gold for enchants), and gets up to 10 more damage than an unarmed monk. If your monk is willing to power attack (not too worried about missing), going staff adds another +3 damage (over the +3 damage PA would normally give to an unarmed monk).

I love the 'idea' of a martial-arts using character, but looking at the numbers, its very suboptimal.
Your mbas will suck if you dual wield. Staff  of Ruin will grant mba if you hold it two handed. Minute you wield staff one handed your mba go away. I hate to give up the dagger for flurry so if I wield a staff of ruin, I wear a boar tusk helm that grant a gore mba. Correction on the damage. Iron Armbands of Power are also item bonus though only on melee. Ring of the Dragonborn Emperor can grant a +3 on your close powers. So you're 5 point behind on melee and 8 on close attacks.
I'm really excited to see a new monk guide in the works!

I'd be interested to know people's opinion of the whip as a monk weapon. It's one handed, so you can still keep a parrying dagger in the off-hand, and the Whip Training feat lets you impose -2 to attacks against you by anyone you hit, which could be a nice way to keep all of those monsters you just nailed from retaliating.



It's a nice weapon at the heroic tier, but it loses some of its glamor at paragon tier when the Psychic Lock comes online. 

I was researching ways to boost accuracy. Hybriding a stonefist monk with fighter tempest technique work well if you dual wield 2 off hand weapons.




My favorite hybrid to increase accuracy is Rogue with Rogue Weapon Talent.  It's all dex based, increases single target damage, and gives +1 to hit with monk and rogue powers. 

I was actually wondering why the multiclass special weapons weren't listed in the implements section. 


They're up now.  Thanks for pointing them out. 

Another thing to note in the section about why Ki-Focus/Unarmed Strike is suboptimal is Dragonshards. I don't THINK I saw this called out above, but the +1/3/5 damage to all attacks (since they are all implement attacks) from the Shard of the Mage is pretty hard to pass up.



Good point. I downgraded ki focus even more as a result.


Wow I hadn't realize that Bracers of Archery applies to bow even on monk powers. That beat Iron Armbands of Power. Minor point your mbas dont get the item bonus but your rbas will. If you don't want to deal with the rod of the dragonborn due to no weapon focus for rods there's Honorable Blade. As a free action you add your breath type to your weapon. Sure one breath type at a time but you can use a bunch of free actions to add them all. You just need a martial class, no hybriding needed Another alternative is a swordmage pp Malec-Keth Janissary. Your primordial blade feature is to pick a type of fire, cold, thunder or lightning. Your attacks deal 1d4 damage of that type.

On the note of Bracers of Archery, a Monk can multiclass into rogue to get hand crossbow feats. Getting a free ranged basic after every critical hit is a good example, granted by the Two-Fisted Shooter feat. The Prime Shot enchantment for ranged weapons doesn't disqualify getting the damage bonus pretty much all the time. A monk who chooses to use a hand crossbow can definately manage. Probably a good idea for such a monk to invest in Shimmering Cloth armour.

I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
I look into ways to get the hand crossbow without blowing a feat. I still had to spend a feat but hybrid rogue/monk is very promising. Reason is the hybrid talent Sharpshooter Talent - crossbows. It gave me an +1 on all my monk powers. Now you don't get that on rogue powers unless it allow for ranged. You also get Far Shot for free. No implements on rogue powers. That's a nice benefit for the monk. Considering rogues also got the rogue weapon talents for daggers. You got a choice of crossbows or daggers which grant a +1 bonus to attack.
I look into ways to get the hand crossbow without blowing a feat. I still had to spend a feat but hybrid rogue/monk is very promising. Reason is the hybrid talent Sharpshooter Talent - crossbows. It gave me an +1 on all my monk powers. Now you don't get that on rogue powers unless it allow for ranged. You also get Far Shot for free. No implements on rogue powers. That's a nice benefit for the monk. Considering rogues also got the rogue weapon talents for daggers. You got a choice of crossbows or daggers which grant a +1 bonus to attack.



The Gritty Sergeant background will give it to you for free.
Cool tactics section - clean and straightforward. Looking forward to the rest!
Ok, I've got the at-wills done and the tactics section sort of finished.   I probably need to get a Movement Technique clarification section before the powers start.  I generally like to explain my reasoning before rating things, so are there any other basic tactics/clarifications that would impact ratings of powers and feats?  
 
I'm enjoying the thread!  Good work.

I have a question:  How does Pointed Step Style "provide an additional flurry of blow target" in Epic play?

Do you just mean that it only allows an additional target (above and beyond what Flurry could normally do under optimal conditions) when you are surrounded by enemies and can also hit another target up to 2 squares away?

Pointed Step Style seems like it also has some unmentioned value at Heroic and Paragon, though.  For instance, at Heroic if the attack that you land reduces an enemy to 0 hit points and you are not adjacent to any other enemies, you could Flurry a separate target that is perhaps 2 squares away.  In Paragon, if you happen for whatever reason to be adjacent to only one target (and you hit it but not kill it), you can Flurry on that target and an additional one up to 2 squares away.

I'm sure I'm probably not stating anything you didn't already know.  It's just that your discussion of Pointed Step Style didn't seem to mention these benefits.  Or maybe I'm misunderstanding Pointed Step Style.
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23

"When combine with a decent strength or Melee Training, this power can be devastating against the back line, as they are forced to choose between poor melee attacks and provoking an OA."

This was part of your discussion on Dragon's Tail.

I was curious, how does decent strength or Melee Training help or improve the effectiveness of this power?

Is it because of the potential OA that ranged enemies hit by this power might provoke?
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23

I'm enjoying the thread!  Good work.

I have a question:  How does Pointed Step Style "provide an additional flurry of blow target" in Epic play?

Do you just mean that it only allows an additional target (above and beyond what Flurry could normally do under optimal conditions) when you are surrounded by enemies and can also hit another target up to 2 squares away?

Pointed Step Style seems like it also has some unmentioned value at Heroic and Paragon, though.  For instance, at Heroic if the attack that you land reduces an enemy to 0 hit points and you are not adjacent to any other enemies, you could Flurry a separate target that is perhaps 2 squares away.  In Paragon, if you happen for whatever reason to be adjacent to only one target (and you hit it but not kill it), you can Flurry on that target and an additional one up to 2 squares away.

I'm sure I'm probably not stating anything you didn't already know.  It's just that your discussion of Pointed Step Style didn't seem to mention these benefits.  Or maybe I'm misunderstanding Pointed Step Style.


I'll see if I can clarify or expand on the feat in the guide.  

Pointed Step Style appears to work like this: 
Heroic: 1 target that can be up to 2 squares away.
Paragon: 2 targets, one of which can be up to two squares away
Epic.  Each available target (which are normally adjacent targets), one of which can be up to two squares away

The reason Pointed Step Style appears to work this way at Epic is that, at Epic you can target any number of enemies, as long as they are adjacent.  Pointed Step Style lets you target one enemy up to 2 squares away, but this doesn't take away a Flurry from an adjacent target because you don't have a limited number of Flurry of Blows targets at epic. 


The reason Pointed Step Style loses some glamer at paragon and epic level is Starflurry Blade, which works like this:
Paragon: 3 targets, one of which can be up to 5 squares away.
Epic: Each available target, one of which can be up to 5 squares away.  


"When combine with a decent strength or Melee Training, this power can be devastating against the back line, as they are forced to choose between poor melee attacks and provoking an OA."

This was part of your discussion on Dragon's Tail.

I was curious, how does decent strength or Melee Training help or improve the effectiveness of this power?

Is it because of the potential OA that ranged enemies hit by this power might provoke?




Exactly.  Ranged opponet provoke OAs if they use a ranged attack in melee.  Making them prone denies a move action from them, which means that they will be either using weak melee attacks or using ranged attacks and proking OAs.  A few enemies do have attacks that have movement combined with them, so these are about the only enemies that can get around this. 

I've tried to clarify this some in the description.
If the Treeborn Paragon path comes out unscathed from the latest issue of Dragon Magazine, I would dare put Wilden at sky blue. They have the right stats for Centered Breath with Dex/Wis as a possible combo and Centered Breath monks have an extremely easy time getting combat advantage thanks to deadly draw. An 18-20 crit range on enemies you have CA for and +1 reach is no joke and the powers are pretty good and can use Dex as well.

I know that Wilden don't have good feat support compared to Elves & Githzerai, but doesn't them having the perfect stat combination as an option for CB Monks make them sky blue currently?
I don't think you're giving +5 athletics standing jump enough credit. It pretty much lets you ignore difficult terrain in most situations. And it's worth noting the push happens after the slide. So you have much more flexibility in deciding where you want to push if you are centered breath. And Polearm Momentum is fairly attainable for a monk, at which point this power beats the tail off Dragon's Tail. But there may be other priorities.

Dancing Cobra is pretty unimpressive for the stone fist, but can be nice for the Centered Breath.

For the stone fist, after you auto-pick Five Storms, the debate is between Crane's Wings and Dragon's Tail. I'll usually lean for Crane's Wings because of the bonus to jump. But if I have an assault swordmage in my party, I'm either swapping places with him and knocking his mark on its rear, or knocking the mark first and swapping places with it, whichever gets the mark away from the swordmage and prone.

For the Centered Breath, the choice is a bit harder because provoking an attack from the defender's mark, especially if you are pretty durable with Zuoken's Centering, is rather attractive too.

I don't think you're giving +5 athletics standing jump enough credit. It pretty much lets you ignore difficult terrain in most situations. And it's worth noting the push happens after the slide. So you have much more flexibility in deciding where you want to push if you are centered breath. And Polearm Momentum is fairly attainable for a monk, at which point this power beats the tail off Dragon's Tail. But there may be other priorities.


You make some very good points. 

I think you misunderstood me.  I think Crane's Wings attack is good for a few kinds of build, namely builds relying on pushes, like polearm builds.  However, for normal monks, I don't think attacking a defense that is 1-2.5 higher than reflex is useful versus the front line unless there is a cliff or some other sort of damaging terrain.  It's too much of a loss in DPS relative to Five Storms and Dragon's Tail otherwise.  In other words, Crane's Wings is too build specific and too situation specific to widely recommend it in my opinion.  However, this is coming from my own experience, so please let me know if this doesn't match your own. 

The +5 jump is my favorite part of Crane's Wings, and after having seeing your post, I decided to rate the Movement Techniques seperately for the at-wills.  That said, the jump is not as generally useful as Dragon's Tail speed+2 movement technique.  +5 jump = 1 extra square of difficult terrain.  +2 movement = 1 extra square of difficult terrain.   In other words, the free running start and the better vertical jump is all that is seperating the two powers versus difficult terrain.  Dragon's Tail gives two extra squares of normal movement,  an extra square of climb and swim speed. The penalty free run I would use a lot more frequently than the free running start and better vertical jump.   However, this is coming from my own experience, so please let me know if this doesn't match your own experiences. 


Dancing Cobra is pretty unimpressive for the stone fist, but can be nice for the Centered Breath.

For the Centered Breath, the choice is a bit harder because provoking an attack from the defender's mark, especially if you are pretty durable with Zuoken's Centering, is rather attractive too.



I don't like provoking OAs from such a little gain, even for Centered Breath.  There are very few situations where it would be beneficial to, on average, take 2-3 times the damage you would deal.  Therefore I don't really thing Dancing Cobra's usefulness is build dependant.  


For the stone fist, after you auto-pick Five Storms, the debate is between Crane's Wings and Dragon's Tail. I'll usually lean for Crane's Wings because of the bonus to jump. But if I have an assault swordmage in my party, I'm either swapping places with him and knocking his mark on its rear, or knocking the mark first and swapping places with it, whichever gets the mark away from the swordmage and prone. 


Dancing Cobra's rider is so bad, I still think it is as good of choice for Centered Breath as for Stone Fist.  Dancing Cobra's Movement Technique is the best (i.e., most likely to be used) of the three Movement Techniques, and Dancing Cobra's attack targets a much better defense. Overall, it seems more generally useful to me, even if the wisdom rider is more trouble than it's worth. 
+5 Jump isn't the only benefit. It also removes the limit of your speed on the jump. Now, understandably, you normally need a roll of 35 or so to exceed your normal speed, 45 to exceed Dancing Cobra's speed.

Look at other benefits involved in Jump based movement though. Vertical possibilities might be opened up via jumping. Chasms that might be semi-risky with your base athletics check are made safer via that +5.

Biggest advantage for Crane's Wings? The movement technique allows you to ignore the Slowed condition, limited only by your Jump check. Slowed sets speed at 2 and prohibits increases. But it doesn't prevent the part of Crane's Wings that says "the distance of the jump isn’t limited by your speed.". So if your Athletics check hits 15 or more (not all that difficult with a +5), then you are at least partially negating the effects of being slowed. As soon as your Athletics check can hit 25, (possible even at 1st level (+5 trained, +5 power, +3 Str, +2 racial), this is more effective against slowed than Dancing Cobra.

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However, for normal monks, I don't think attacking a defense that is 1-2.5 higher than reflex is useful versus the front line unless there is a cliff or some other sort of damaging terrain.  It's too much of a loss in DPS relative to Five Storms and Dragon's Tail otherwise.  In other words, Crane's Wings is too build specific and too situation specific to widely recommend it in my opinion.  However, this is coming from my own experience, so please let me know if this doesn't match your own. 


The thing is, with Five Storms, you always have an attack that hits reflex, and that will always be one of your at wills. Having a power that targets Fortitude is actually rather nice to have against skirmishers and lurkers. And you usually do want to push them away to break grabs, get out of flanks, get out of their auras, etc.

Dragon's Tail is also a good vs Fort option because knocking down enemy artillery and controllers will limit their options, and Fort tends to be lower than Reflex for those guys.

And in my experience, the +2 movement technique really doesn't come into play much. The only times it's decent is for chasing down people trying to run away. But it doesn't even let you go faster than you would be able to with a run to overtake people.

I actually think the fact that both Five Storms and Dancing Cobra targeting reflex is in Dancing Cobra's disfavor, because you already have an excellent power that deals with high Fortitude Brutes and Soldiers. Versatility is more desirable when you can have options to target different defenses.

I don't like provoking OAs from such a little gain, even for Centered Breath.  There are very few situations where it would be beneficial to, on average, take 2-3 times the damage you would deal.  Therefore I don't really thing Dancing Cobra's usefulness is build dependant.  


The risk against marked targets is reasonably small, and the gain can be pretty big depending on how punishing your defender is. As I said, a Githzerai with Zuoken Centering can take the hits, or one with Githzerai Mobility can avoid the hits. Or a Halfling with an Elusive Action Ki Focus and/or some Resplendent Boots, against a marked target, has a pretty good shot at dodging the opportunity attack.

I see hit points and healing surges as a resource, and why not use them, for advantageous positioning, and to deal more damage when you can. Obviously not always, but there are many fights where I find it speeds things up, especially when we enter clean up mode.

Anyway, that's probably more thought than I wanted to put into it, but I believe the decision to take Dancing Cobra or not, should be based on how often you intend to provoke opportunity attacks, not the movement technique or the fact that it targets reflex.

As far as movement techniques go, I'd rate them top down as Five Storms, Crane's Wings, Dragon's Tail, and Dancing Cobra. +2 speed really doesn't impress me (unless maybe if you're a dwarf). My half-orc barbarian gains +2 speed when charging. I think I've used that benefit once in 5 levels. There really aren't very many times you can't get to an enemy with a 6 square move and 6 square charge.
Two quick comments on your weapons section, which is exactly what I was asking for in my earlier post.  In the section on clubs, you mention "off-hand dagger or shuriken at paragon for Starblade Flurry".  The feat says the weapon needs to be "in hand" so does that mean you don't need to be wielding it?  Is holding it fine?  As far as I can tell tell that is the only occurance of the specific phrase "in hand"in the rule books and the closest other occurances are for "wielding in each hand" or something similar.  I tried that setup in the CB weeks ago when experimenting with my current monk and since shuriken do not have the offhand property I could not get it to work.

Second, you should add scimitars to the heavy blade section because of scimitar dance.  For stone fist monks that is 5-6 points of damage on every target you miss starting at 11th level and it scales as you bump your dex.  Even a few centered breath monks might qualify for the 15 strength prereq.

I would also mention that if allowed, backgrounds are a cheap way to pick up martial proficiencies for those without racial feats.

Biggest advantage for Crane's Wings? The movement technique allows you to ignore the Slowed condition, limited only by your Jump check. Slowed sets speed at 2 and prohibits increases. But it doesn't prevent the part of Crane's Wings that says "the distance of the jump isn’t limited by your speed.". So if your Athletics check hits 15 or more (not all that difficult with a +5), then you are at least partially negating the effects of being slowed. As soon as your Athletics check can hit 25, (possible even at 1st level (+5 trained, +5 power, +3 Str, +2 racial), this is more effective against slowed than Dancing Cobra.



That's a great point.  I also just realized that by RAW, I believe you can jump at the end of a move to extend your move even more. 


The thing is, with Five Storms, you always have an attack that hits reflex, and that will always be one of your at wills. Having a power that targets Fortitude is actually rather nice to have against skirmishers and lurkers. And you usually do want to push them away to break grabs, get out of flanks, get out of their auras, etc.

Dragon's Tail is also a good vs Fort option because knocking down enemy artillery and controllers will limit their options, and Fort tends to be lower than Reflex for those guys.

I actually think the fact that both Five Storms and Dancing Cobra targeting reflex is in Dancing Cobra's disfavor, because you already have an excellent power that deals with high Fortitude Brutes and Soldiers. Versatility is more desirable when you can have options to target different defenses.

The risk against marked targets is reasonably small, and the gain can be pretty big depending on how punishing your defender is. As I said, a Githzerai with Zuoken Centering can take the hits, or one with Githzerai Mobility can avoid the hits. Or a Halfling with an Elusive Action Ki Focus and/or some Resplendent Boots, against a marked target, has a pretty good shot at dodging the opportunity attack.

Anyway, that's probably more thought than I wanted to put into it, but I believe the decision to take Dancing Cobra or not, should be based on how often you intend to provoke opportunity attacks, not the movement technique or the fact that it targets reflex.

As far as movement techniques go, I'd rate them top down as Five Storms, Crane's Wings, Dragon's Tail, and Dancing Cobra. +2 speed really doesn't impress me (unless maybe if you're a dwarf). My half-orc barbarian gains +2 speed when charging. I think I've used that benefit once in 5 levels. There really aren't very many times you can't get to an enemy with a 6 square move and 6 square charge.




Ok I'm convinced.  I'm rewriting some sections.

Two quick comments on your weapons section, which is exactly what I was asking for in my earlier post.  In the section on clubs, you mention "off-hand dagger or shuriken at paragon for Starblade Flurry".  The feat says the weapon needs to be "in hand" so does that mean you don't need to be wielding it?  Is holding it fine?  As far as I can tell tell that is the only occurance of the specific phrase "in hand"in the rule books and the closest other occurances are for "wielding in each hand" or something similar.  I tried that setup in the CB weeks ago when experimenting with my current monk and since shuriken do not have the offhand property I could not get it to work.

Second, you should add scimitars to the heavy blade section because of scimitar dance.  For stone fist monks that is 5-6 points of damage on every target you miss starting at 11th level and it scales as you bump your dex.  Even a few centered breath monks might qualify for the 15 strength prereq.

I would also mention that if allowed, backgrounds are a cheap way to pick up martial proficiencies for those without racial feats.




I'm glad you liked it.  These are good points.
That's a great point.  I also just realized that by RAW, I believe you can jump at the end of a move to extend your move even more. 

Not really. Unless the power that allows you to jump and doesn't care about your speed takes a free action. Can't do that with Crane's Wings.
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
That's a great point.  I also just realized that by RAW, I believe you can jump at the end of a move to extend your move even more. 


Not really. Unless the power that allows you to jump and doesn't care about your speed takes a free action. Can't do that with Crane's Wings.



I got it.  As it's a move action, you can't do it as part of a move action.
Regarding the whip multiclass feat, if you use the whip with Five Storms, do you not get to apply the penalty to all the enemies you hit during the use of the power? It says, "when you hit a target with the whip, that target takes a..." 

Am I not hitting each target with each different attack roll? Or is it one of those things that can only work once per round? Clarification please. 

Jun 18, 2010 -- 7:39AM, boydcl wrote:

I'm really excited to see a new monk guide in the works!

I'd be interested to know people's opinion of the whip as a monk weapon. It's one handed, so you can still keep a parrying dagger in the off-hand, and the Whip Training feat lets you impose -2 to attacks against you by anyone you hit, which could be a nice way to keep all of those monsters you just nailed from retaliating.



 


furious_kender

It's a nice weapon at the heroic tier, but it loses some of its glamor at paragon tier when the Psychic Lock comes online. 
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What do ya use to get the psychic attacks? All my monk attacks are psionic... or are they the same thing?

Regarding the whip multiclass feat, if you use the whip with Five Storms, do you not get to apply the penalty to all the enemies you hit during the use of the power? It says, "when you hit a target with the whip, that target takes a..." 

Am I not hitting each target with each different attack roll? Or is it one of those things that can only work once per round? Clarification please. 



It works each time you hit a target, so everyone you hit with Five Storms would be affected.  You should note however that you won't gain the benefit of the whip's reach when using monk attacks as the range is already specified in all the powers.



It's a nice weapon at the heroic tier, but it loses some of its glamor at paragon tier when the Psychic Lock comes online. 
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What do ya use to get the psychic attacks? All my monk attacks are psionic... or are they the same thing?




I know it sounds very similar, but psychic and psionic aren't the same thing in 4th edition.  Psionics is a power source.  Psychic is a damage type.  Psychic attacks have the psychic keyword and do psychic damage.  The only way monks can do psychic damage consistently is by using either a Mindiron bow/crossbow or a Githyanki Silver heavy blade.   
Hmm, not that it's super relevant, but the long step epic feat allows you to add 1 square to the distance of shifts. With the five storms movement technique, thats shifting 3 squares at will as a move action, which allows you to become concealed via the phantom chausseures feet item (which are a darn sight cheaper than a shadow band).

Basically, its parrying dagger mark two (feat and an item for +2 to AC)

prototype00
Basically, its parrying dagger mark two (feat and an item for +2 to AC)


I personally still prefer the always-active (and much earlier available) "Parrying Dagger Proficiency + Rhythm Blade Parrying Dagger" or "Two-Weapon Defense + Rhythm Blade Dagger" combination.

-Enaloindir

Basically, its parrying dagger mark two (feat and an item for +2 to AC)




I personally still prefer the always-active (and much earlier available) "Parrying Dagger Proficiency + Rhythm Blade Parrying Dagger" or "Two-Weapon Defense + Rhythm Blade Dagger" combination.

-Enaloindir





Well, yes, of course. Mark two in a sense that you can take it with the rythm blade parrying dagger, at epic, when then aren't as many feats to choose.

prototype00

P.s. You do give up most avenues of personal flight as those are feet based. So it isn't perfect by any means.
Hmm, not that it's super relevant, but the long step epic feat allows you to add 1 square to the distance of shifts. With the five storms movement technique, thats shifting 3 squares at will as a move action, which allows you to become concealed via the phantom chausseures feet item (which are a darn sight cheaper than a shadow band).

Basically, its parrying dagger mark two (feat and an item for +2 to AC)

prototype00




That is a decent option to increase AC.  However, there is a lot of competition for the feet slot.  I will mention it when I get to the items section.
Just thought I'd post my Monk/Rogue Hybrid Build A.K.A the Ninja. I'm still looking for ways to maximize the damage potential though either through ways of consistantly regaining an encounter power each turn and through adding an Immobilize debuff to the slide effect of Centered FoB.

Julia, level 30
Human, Monk|Rogue, Daggermaster, Deadly Trickster
Monastic Tradition (Hybrid): Centered Breath (Hybrid)
Hybrid Monk: Hybrid Monk Reflex
Hybrid Talent: Rogue Combat Talent
Rogue Combat Talent: Rogue Weapon Talent (Hybrid)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Light Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Ki Focuses)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 15, Con 12, Dex 26, Int 11, Wis 24, Cha 12.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 13, Con 10, Dex 16, Int 9, Wis 16, Cha 10.


AC: 46 Fort: 40 Reflex: 46 Will: 41
HP: 169 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 42

TRAINED SKILLS
Thievery +28, Acrobatics +28, Athletics +22, Perception +27, Stealth +34, Insight +27

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +15, Bluff +16, Diplomacy +16, Dungeoneering +22, Endurance +16, Heal +22, History +15, Intimidate +16, Nature +22, Religion +15, Streetwise +16

FEATS
Human: Weapon Proficiency (Parrying dagger)
Level 1: Armor Proficiency (Leather)
Level 2: Deadly Draw
Level 4: Melee Training (Dexterity)
Level 6: Hybrid Talent
Level 8: Backstabber
Level 10: Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 11: Two-Weapon Defense
Level 12: Defensive Advantage
Level 14: Paragon Defenses (retrained to Robust Defenses at Level 21)
Level 16: Versatile Expertise
Level 18: Nimble Blade
Level 20: Overwhelming Critical
Level 21: Starblade Flurry
Level 22: Whirlwind Sneak Attack
Level 24: Epic Resurgence
Level 26: Martial Mastery
Level 28: Epic Fortitude
Level 30: Triumphant Attack

POWERS
Bonus At-Will Power: Crane's Wings (retrained to Dragon's Tail at Level 4)
Hybrid at-will 1: Deft Strike
Hybrid at-will 1: Five Storms
Hybrid encounter 1: Open the Gate of Battle
Hybrid daily 1: Spinning Leopard Maneuver (retrained to Masterful Spiral at Level 5)
Hybrid utility 2: Fleeting Ghost (retrained to Fast Hands at Level 10) (Retrain to Supreme Flurry at Level 22)
Hybrid encounter 3: Setup Strike (retrained to Low Slash at Level 7)
Hybrid daily 5: Mocking Strike (retrained to One Hundred Leaves at Level 12)
Hybrid utility 6: Centered Defense
Hybrid encounter 7: Sand in the Eyes (retrained to Cloud of Steel at Level 16)
Hybrid daily 9: Knockout
Hybrid utility 10: Shadow Stride
Hybrid encounter 13: Furious Bull (replaces Open the Gate of Battle)
Hybrid daily 15: Ring the Golden Bell (replaces One Hundred Leaves)
Hybrid utility 16: Stance of the Still Sword
Hybrid encounter 17: Blistering Outburst (retrained to Tumbling Strike at Level 27) (replaces Cloud of Steel)
Hybrid daily 19: Rising Dragon Fire (replaces Masterful Spiral)
Hybrid utility 22: Diamond Body
Hybrid encounter 23: Whirlwind Kick (replaces Furious Bull)
Hybrid daily 25: Watchful Hydra Stance (replaces Rising Dragon Fire)
Hybrid encounter 27: Dance of Death (replaces Low Slash)
Hybrid daily 29: Assassin's Point (replaces Rising Dragon Fire)

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Grappling Hook, Tent, Thieves' Tools, Torch (2), Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing), Dagger (20), Bloodiron Dagger +6 (Main Hand), Elusive Action Ki Focus +1, Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier), Phantom Chaussures (paragon tier), Strikebacks (heroic tier), Crown of Eyes (paragon tier), Cloak of Invisibility +6, Belt of Breaching (paragon tier), Backlash Tattoo (heroic tier), Shadowflow Starleather Armor +6, Rhythm Blade Parrying dagger +1 (Off-Hand), Ring of Giants (paragon tier) (2)


Basic Nova Tactic of this Build:


-Step 1 (Move Action): I shift 2 Squares (Five Storm movement technique) in the center of 7 opponents. Alternatively, I can allow myself to be surrounded by targets and wait for them to come at me (use Full Defense in the meantime, Personal Buffs like Centered Defense and/or use Magic Items). Ultimately, I'm surrounded by 7 adjacent targets, left with 1 unoccupied adjacent square and have an extra target 2 squares away who is also adjacent to the unoccupied square next to me.

-Step2 (Standard Action): I use Watchful Hydra Stance, Monk Daily Power, on all 8 targets. Damage here is calculated considering I hit all targets normally (which is most likely scenario since I don't have an improved crit range with Monk Implement Powers).

Average Damage per target: 18(Power)+15(Bonuses)+9(FoB)= 42 damage
Total Average (all 8 targets together): 42*8= 336 damage

Max Damage per target (no Crit): 36(Power)+15(Bonuses)+9(FoB)= 60 damage
Total Max Damage (no Crit, all 8 targets together): 480 damage

-Step 3 (Free Action): I slide each adjacent target (8 targets total) 1 square to a square adjacent to me and gain CA against them until the end of my next turn (so 2 rounds total).

*Here is an illustration of how I would slide the targets:

 Starting with target #5, I slide all targets Clockwise and then move target 8 into the empty square.

Step1:  1 2 3              Step2:  4 1 2
              4 X 5                           6 X 3
              6 7 E                           7 8 5
                 8                                         

X: Me
E: Empty Space
1-8: targets 1 to 8

-Step 4 (Action Point, Standard Action): I burn an AP to gain an extra Standard Action and then use Dance of Death, Rogue Encounter Power, on all adjacent targets in conjunction with the Whirlwind Sneak Attack Feat which allows me to deal SA damage once to all targets I have CA against (in this case, all 8 targets I slid). Damage here is calculated considering I scored only 1 crit and 7 normal hits. My crit range is 18-20, which is equals to 15%, which comes down to an average of 1 crit on 8 attack rolls.

Average Damage per target (non-Crit): 9(Power)+15(Bonuses)+20(SA)= 44 damage
Average Damage (Crit Victim): 18(Power)+15(Bonuses)+40(SA)+60(BloodIron)+24(Giant Rings)= 157 damage + target is prone.

Max Damage per target (non-Crit): 18(Power)+15(Bonuses)+40(SA)= 73 damage
Max Damage (Crit Victim): 18(Power)+15(Bonuses)+40(SA)+120(BloodIron)+24(Giant Rings)= 217 damage + target is prone.

Total Average Damage (all 8 targets together): (44*7)+157= 465 damage
Total Max Damage (all 8 targets together): (73*7)+217= 728 damage

Now the combined damage (Step 2 + Step 4)...

Total combined Average Damage: 336+465= 801 damage
Total combined Max Damage: 480+728= 1208 damage

Step 5 (Minor Action): I use the Critical Opportunity, Daggermaster Encounter Power, on the Crit Victim from Step 4 and hit with a normal hit.

Average Damage: 9(Power)+19(Bonuses)= 28 damage.
Max Damage: 18(Power)+19(Bonuses)= 37 damage.

**Total DPR (adding Critical Opportunity):

Average Total DPR: 801+28= 829 damage
Max Total DPR: 1208+37= 1245 damage

Step 6 (Enemy turn): As a result of the rider effect of the Rogue Power Dance of Death, targets that survive are forced to attack a target of my choosing if they decide to attack me on their turn resulting in more damage. Intelligent monsters will probably move away and the prone crit victim will simply stand up and pass it's turn, allowing me to finish it off. If there ever would be multiple crit victims left alive, I could use Dance of Death again on them the following round thanks to Epic Resurgence ( I still have CA).

I've finished rating all the heroic powers.  Please let me know what you think. 
I think you are too harsh for some of the powers and are too quick to mark things as red.  Red generally means totally overshadowed. 

Rising storm for instance is not red.   Just because something targets fortitude, does not make it useless and the power does comparible damage to the other powers of the level, has a very good movement technique, is one of the only two potential multarget damage powers, potentially damaging the most enemies of any power that level.

Whirling Mantis Step is also not that bad.  It has a good control effect and can force enemies into a nice bunch.  Very good to use in combination with an action point.

I would rate both at least a black and would stongly consider Dark blue for Whirling Mantis Step.  If you have things that enhance slides like deadly draw I would rate it as possibly skyblue.
I agree that Whirling Mantis is black or blue, depending on whether you have a full-time controller in the group who can take advantage of the guys you just grouped together and then (presumably) scurried away from.  It's more control where Spinning Leopard is more raw damage.  Sure it hits Fort, but you can move between each shot, so you can cluster up lurkers and artillery for incoming ownage.  I could easily see using it in a CB build to support a caster, when you can follow up one of the hits with a flurry for additional slide.

I agree that quite a bit of your red should be purple instead--that's the color for situational effects.  For example, Rising Storm is good for hopping over the linebackers and popping a close-in lurker type, when the damage can splash onto the linebackers.  Purple.
I think you are too harsh for some of the powers and are too quick to mark things as red.  Red generally means totally overshadowed. 


I moved most things up to purple.   


Rising storm for instance is not red.   Just because something targets fortitude, does not make it useless and the power does comparible damage to the other powers of the level, has a very good movement technique, is one of the only two potential multarget damage powers, potentially damaging the most enemies of any power that level.


If you attack the fort of the front line, you're taking a relative -1.5 to hit on average.  Against the backline, you get on average a relative +5.  So it doesn't do comparable damage really, especially considering your unlikely to find a clustered back line target.  Rising Sun is like using a version of power attack where only adjacents get the extra damage.  With that said, I did raise it to purple as time to time you might find a situation where the attack would be useful and the flght is good. 


Whirling Mantis Step is also not that bad.  It has a good control effect and can force enemies into a nice bunch.  Very good to use in combination with an action point.

I would rate both at least a black and would stongly consider Dark blue for Whirling Mantis Step.  If you have things that enhance slides like deadly draw I would rate it as possibly skyblue.


Yeah I seemed to have under rated this power some.   I still don't think it's terribly good though for most situations.
now it may be the exception rather than the rule but looking through some heroic tier adventures, especially for lower end heroic, fortitude on monsters isn't that great....
now it may be the exception rather than the rule but looking through some heroic tier adventures, especially for lower end heroic, fortitude on monsters isn't that great....






As an aside, I was wanting to provide a simple tactics sections with some nice rules of thumb that could be applied by normal people in play.  If you want to see a complicated analysis of the situation, please see below.

show
I was looking at the MM1 monster averages by monster type.  You can find them here

I recreated the MM1 statistics here.
                             Artillery   Brute   Controller   Lurker   Minion   Skirmisher   Soldier
AC - Level             13.78   12.77        14.49    14.18    13.54        14.40     16.11  
Fortitude - Level   11.89   13.63        12.65    11.32    11.64        12.36     14.57  
Reflex - Level       12.09   10.22        11.54    12.68    10.38        12.34     11.82  
Will - Level           11.11   10.06        12.30    10.66     9.54        10.61     11.72

The back line is made of Artillery, Lurkers, and some Controllers and Skirmishers.
The front line is made of Brutes, Soldiers, and some Controllers and Skirmishers 

Notice how only the lurkers have significantly lower fort than reflex (1.36).  Lurkers are also the rarest main monster type. 

Controllers(1.11), Brutes (3.41) and Soldiers (2.75) all have higher fortitude than reflex on average.
Brutes and Soldiers are also the most common monster types, with 43% of non-minions belonging to those two types.  These two types also make up most of the front line.

So if you attack the front line's fortitude, you are more likely than not, taking a 2.75 to 3.41 penalty relative to what you would have taken if you attacked fortitude.   As a most conservatve estimate, I added up the 4 front line types fortitude minus reflex and divided it by 4.  This indicated a relative  penalty of  1.82.  With the relative probabilities of a melee Controllers and Skirmishers added in, and the fact that not all skirmishers and controllers are front liners, you should average around a 2.5 penalty relative to what you would have had if you attacked reflex.
   

Doing this most conservative estimate with the backline indicates that you would gain a bonus of .67 if you attack the back line's fortitude.  As skirmishers and controllers are more common than lurkers and artillery, but not all of them are back liners, I'm guessing the real bonus to attacking the back line's fortitude is around 1.  

Judging by the relative disctribution of monster types, and my own experiences, the front line is also quite a bit larger than the back line. 

 
In short, I don't think my tactics section, which I was using to rate and describe powers was inaccurate in regards to the usefulness of fortitude attacks.  Fortitude attacks are somewhat advantageous to use on the back line, but are at a significant disadvantage when you attack the front line.

What do you guys think? Was I incorrect in my analysis or perhaps gave a mistaken impression of it?