No Paper Tigers!!!!: The Monk Handbook

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I have to say that out of all 3 Monk Guides, this one is best so far. I found that the rating of the powers in the other guides weren't quite accurate. Very nice reference, keep it up.
I really like Olfactatron's guide, and wished he had continued it- I agreed on pretty much all of his opinions. With that said, this one is also working its way to there. It's just that "other" one that I completely disagree with... /shivers

I'm helping a friend develop her monk as we go, so an up-to-date monk guide is crucial. I really hope you keep up the good work, and make a fully fleshed out guide! :D

I don't agree with Dancing Cobra being purple at all, especially for Centered Breath monks with high AC. Our monk has a minimum of 30 AC v. OAs at lvl 10, so freely provokes them for more damage, seeing as how safe it generally is, making it the most practical at-will for monks. And ironically, it is a far safer choice of damage than Five Storms. (have fun with that 3-5 monsters adjacent when their turn comes around).

I think a lot of the powers should be marked comparing Centered Breath v Stonefist, since it changes a lot of the color ratings. Eternal Mountain is, imo, only Sky Blue for Stonefist who benefit from the movement technique. It is rather dangerous for a monk to use that without the DR, especially if the attacks miss. Twin Thunders, a power marked purple by you, only requires you to be adjacent to 1 enemy, and the secondary bit of lightning damage doesn't require an attack roll (great on either minions or bosses/soldiers with high defenses). As a centered breath monk, I'd rather use it agaisnt 2 enemies adjacent to eachother than Eternal Mountain. But I guess that's just a matter of preference.

The potential risk of close burst 1's should be noted. With marginal success on DM roles, you might regret it.
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
Suppose I want to build a Centered Breath monk, that uses a dagger as an implement, and has superior implement training for an accurate dagger:  when I take versatile expertise, do I select light blades for the implement portion or the weapon portion, and then what do I pick for the other half of the feat?
I have to say that out of all 3 Monk Guides, this one is best so far. I found that the rating of the powers in the other guides weren't quite accurate. Very nice reference, keep it up.



I'm glad you're finding it useful. 


I'm helping a friend develop her monk as we go, so an up-to-date monk guide is crucial. I really hope you keep up the good work, and make a fully fleshed out guide! :D


Yeah, that is why I started the guide.  However, it's very time consuming to do it well, and I promised myself I wouldn't try to get everything up immediately to try to save the little of my sanity remaining. 




I don't agree with Dancing Cobra being purple at all, especially for Centered Breath monks with high AC. Our monk has a minimum of 30 AC v. OAs at lvl 10, so freely provokes them for more damage, seeing as how safe it generally is, making it the most practical at-will for monks. And ironically, it is a far safer choice of damage than Five Storms. (have fun with that 3-5 monsters adjacent when their turn comes around).



I gave a rating of useful in the text of this power for the types of monks you describe. What I was afraid of is people taking it wth Five Storms and never using the rider.  In other words, in general it's purple, but for some builds it could be useful.   

However, what I don't understand is how that monk you describe is fine getting attacked by the same creature twice in a round, but not ok getting attacked once by three creatures?  With proper utilities, the monk has better defenses that a defender and should be able to stand being attacked some. 



Twin Thunders, a power marked purple by you, only requires you to be adjacent to 1 enemy, and the secondary bit of lightning damage doesn't require an attack roll (great on either minions or bosses/soldiers with high defenses). As a centered breath monk, I'd rather use it agaisnt 2 enemies adjacent to eachother than Eternal Mountain. But I guess that's just a matter of preference.

 
You have several burst powers that serve a similar purpose, so the times when Twin Thunders would be more useful than a burst power are quite situational in nature.  Purple is for situationally useful powers or powers that require a very specific build to pull off. 


The potential risk of close burst 1's should be noted. With marginal success on DM roles, you might regret it.



I've heard this before, and I've seen it in practice.  However, I'm also of the opinion that not using multi-attacks severely weakens the class.  This is why I strongly advocate defensive feats, because they enable you to survive your best offensive powers. 

When I have time, I will put another section in the monk tactics however describing this in more detail. 
Paragon powers are up.  Please let me know what you think.
Suppose I want to build a Centered Breath monk, that uses a dagger as an implement, and has superior implement training for an accurate dagger:  when I take versatile expertise, do I select light blades for the implement portion or the weapon portion, and then what do I pick for the other half of the feat?



Light Blade, Ki Focus
Todays In The Works mentions Psionic Power (out next month) and briefly mentions a new Monk ED: Grandmaster of Flowers.

So far it lists the level 21 and 30 ability

Balanced Mind (21st level) Allows you to take 10 (or roll) for saves vs charm, fear or psyhic effect and if you are missed with a will atatck teh enemy takes 10 psychic damage.

Luminous Consciousness (30th level) is amazing.  You never provoke OAs when moving and when an effect allows you to shift you can move your speed instead.  You also ignore difficult terrain, can move across and end your movement on any vertical or liquid surface and when you walk, run or charge you can spend any or all of that movement flying - and at the end of the movement you land safely in teh neartes unoccupied space.
I wanted to mention that I added in the "Best Defense is a Good Offense" tactics section.

Todays In The Works mentions Psionic Power (out next month) and briefly mentions a new Monk ED: Grandmaster of Flowers.

So far it lists the level 21 and 30 ability

Balanced Mind (21st level) Allows you to take 10 (or roll) for saves vs charm, fear or psyhic effect and if you are missed with a will atatck teh enemy takes 10 psychic damage.

Luminous Consciousness (30th level) is amazing.  You never provoke OAs when moving and when an effect allows you to shift you can move your speed instead.  You also ignore difficult terrain, can move across and end your movement on any vertical or liquid surface and when you walk, run or charge you can spend any or all of that movement flying - and at the end of the movement you land safely in teh neartes unoccupied space.



Wow!  That looks cool and useful!


Suppose I want to build a Centered Breath monk, that uses a dagger as an implement, and has superior implement training for an accurate dagger:  when I take versatile expertise, do I select light blades for the implement portion or the weapon portion, and then what do I pick for the other half of the feat?






Light Blade, Ki Focus





If you plan on using light blades as you primary implement, like it appears you do, you would also pick whatever backup weapon you'd like.  If you can't think of a backup weapon, I might pick whatever weapon I might use as a melee or ranged basic attack, such as a sling or unarmed attack.   In short, picking pretty much anything as your second choice might be fine in your case, as it is unlikely you'd use it. 
Said monk has +AC versus opportunity attacks, and she can target it on enemies with bad melee basics- and forcing them to attack her AC. With Five Storms, you just use it with whatever group you can find, and therefore the chance of actually getting hit is much greater. Just don't provoke with Dancing Cobra when it's a real risk, and it's not an issue.

Being surrounded with Five Storms also pretty much auto-guarantees giving them combat advantage for flanking, making each of the enemies +4 to hit over provoking with Dancing Cobra. Provoking with Dancing cobra makes it do about as much damage as Five Storms would against 2 targets, and after the attack is resolved, there is less likelihood you will be hit, and by less targets. Five Storms gets better as you level up, when extra damage rider and hit die mean less for Dancing Cobra. But throughout Heroic, Dancing Cobra is impressive damage. Additionally, at Paragon you are hitting 3 targets with Flurry of Blows, making surrounding yourself a better idea. I guess I should have specified this, as most campaigns are primarily through heroic. Once in Paragon, I think Five Storms gets a lot better (plus you have more defensive capabilities, with iron dragon defense at 10, paragon defenses, etc.) What I would do is retrain Dancing Cobra to Dragon Tail perhaps around Paragon, where it loses steam.

Dancing Cobra also has probably the best mvoement technique of all of them (more versatile than Five Storms- great when running after anyone, or needing to engage with a charge). The powers should be rated as a whole, then separating their attack and movement portion. With that, Dancing Cobra would at least be black. And the other 3/4 of the time enemies aren't close enough together, Dancing cobra is the best damage you could ever expect to get. With Flurry of Blows, monks really just want to hit. When comparing to Dragon Tail, attacking Fort with another at-will generally isn't a great idea. Especially provided that the move action is nearly worthless.

I agree with you on pretty much everything, and just kinda wanted to bring to light why Dancing Cobra can be useful, and why Five Storms can be equally situational.
Currently Playing: lvl 6 Pixie Skald in Home Campaign lvl 2 Human Bard in Forgotten Realms ---
Todays In The Works mentions Psionic Power (out next month) and briefly mentions a new Monk ED: Grandmaster of Flowers.

So far it lists the level 21 and 30 ability

Balanced Mind (21st level) Allows you to take 10 (or roll) for saves vs charm, fear or psyhic effect and if you are missed with a will atatck teh enemy takes 10 psychic damage.

Luminous Consciousness (30th level) is amazing.  You never provoke OAs when moving and when an effect allows you to shift you can move your speed instead.  You also ignore difficult terrain, can move across and end your movement on any vertical or liquid surface and when you walk, run or charge you can spend any or all of that movement flying - and at the end of the movement you land safely in teh neartes unoccupied space.


I was kind of hoping they'd produce a monk ED that gives them more oomph to their attacks...rather than just another mobility- or defense- booster.


I was kind of hoping they'd produce a monk ED that gives them more oomph to their attacks...rather than just another mobility- or defense- booster.




Yeah, but unless someone writes a dragon article that doesn't get nerfed immediately, I'm not terribly hopeful for a great striker monk ED at this day and age.  On the plus side, a lot of people complain about their monks getting slaughtered, so defense is also useful. 

Said monk has +AC versus opportunity attacks, and she can target it on enemies with bad melee basics- and forcing them to attack her AC. With Five Storms, you just use it with whatever group you can find, and therefore the chance of actually getting hit is much greater. Just don't provoke with Dancing Cobra when it's a real risk, and it's not an issue.

Being surrounded with Five Storms also pretty much auto-guarantees giving them combat advantage for flanking, making each of the enemies +4 to hit over provoking with Dancing Cobra. Provoking with Dancing cobra makes it do about as much damage as Five Storms would against 2 targets, and after the attack is resolved, there is less likelihood you will be hit, and by less targets. Five Storms gets better as you level up, when extra damage rider and hit die mean less for Dancing Cobra. But throughout Heroic, Dancing Cobra is impressive damage. Additionally, at Paragon you are hitting 3 targets with Flurry of Blows, making surrounding yourself a better idea. I guess I should have specified this, as most campaigns are primarily through heroic. Once in Paragon, I think Five Storms gets a lot better (plus you have more defensive capabilities, with iron dragon defense at 10, paragon defenses, etc.) What I would do is retrain Dancing Cobra to Dragon Tail perhaps around Paragon, where it loses steam.

Dancing Cobra also has probably the best mvoement technique of all of them (more versatile than Five Storms- great when running after anyone, or needing to engage with a charge). The powers should be rated as a whole, then separating their attack and movement portion. With that, Dancing Cobra would at least be black. And the other 3/4 of the time enemies aren't close enough together, Dancing cobra is the best damage you could ever expect to get. With Flurry of Blows, monks really just want to hit. When comparing to Dragon Tail, attacking Fort with another at-will generally isn't a great idea. Especially provided that the move action is nearly worthless.

I agree with you on pretty much everything, and just kinda wanted to bring to light why Dancing Cobra can be useful, and why Five Storms can be equally situational.




Just to let you know, I see all your points and I agree with you on much of your assessment.  I originally had Dancing Cobra at a higher rating, but people correctly pointed out that it attacking the same defense as Five Storms lowers its usefulness greatly.  In other words, taking Dancing Cobra would also mean that non-human monks would be left without a good back line killer, and a relative +1 to hit is very useful.  This is why it got the purple rating: everyone already can attack reflex for almost the same damage with a power that has much more general utility.

For some builds in some situations, I rated Dancing Cobra as black in the text for the power. 

As it is only a situationally useful power usable by only certain builds, as even you admit,  and it faces stiff competition, I believe it should stay purple at this time.   


This is why it got the purple rating: everyone already can attack reflex for almost the same damage with a power that has much more general utility.


You probably already considered this, but Five Storms doesn't benefit from the Iron Armbands of Power, while Dancing Cobra does...

-Enaloindir 
This is why it got the purple rating: everyone already can attack reflex for almost the same damage with a power that has much more general utility.




You probably already considered this, but Five Storms doesn't benefit from the Iron Armbands of Power, while Dancing Cobra does...

-Enaloindir 




I made Dancing Cobra red and black to try to show there are differences of opinion on the power.

I've added mention of this in the text for the power. 

Iron Armbands would apply to both Fort powers as well.  With that said, monks don't always take the Iron Armbands of Power, which you won't have until mid to late heroic anyway.  Goblin totem, Staff of Ruin, Bracers of Archery all provide items bonuses to all monk attacks. 

As I have mentionned before, you can optimize to make many situational powers more generally useful.  It doesn't mean that they still aren't situational, build specific powers.  If you give global rating on whether some particular builds could make decent use out of a power, then you'll find relatively little variability in powers.  I don't think this is a terribly useful way of writing a guide, and I prefer to mention specific build options in the text of a power so as to not confuse true newbs any more than I already do. 

I have always mentionned that there are useful ways of using Dancing Cobra in the text of the power itself.  However, the power isn't very useful for most monk builds in most situations, which makes the power purple overall.    Or as it is now, red and black.
Okay next question:

suppose I am making a Githzerai Centered breath monk for a game in progress where the other characters are level 5:  among the feats I want are Deadly draw, versatile expertise, unarmored agility, melee training, and superior implement training for an accurate dagger... what should my feat priority be?
 
Okay next question:

suppose I am making a Githzerai Centered breath monk for a game in progress where the other characters are level 5:  among the feats I want are Deadly draw, versatile expertise, unarmored agility, melee training, and superior implement training for an accurate dagger... what should my feat priority be?
 





If you're going Githzerai and are interested in Melee Training, I'd look at the Githzerai Blademaster feat, as it can turn you into a first rate charger and adds damage to all your monk attacks. Always having the ability to shift 2 and then charge a single target with a fullblade/bastard sword solves the low single target damage problem of the monk (At level 5, a charge could do 1d12+1d8+1d6+dex+mods+Flurry of Blows).  A melee basic attack with a dagger is never going to be terribly strong, and the enemies aren't likely to provoke from you as your probably their biggest threat.  But then again, some people say everyone needs Melee Training...

If you're sticking with the dagger and those feats, which is a very strong choice, I would go Versatile Expertise, Unarmored Agility, and then Superior Implement training.  At level 6, I'd take the Deadly Draw feat if you want more offense. 

interesting.. I am not entirely sure though how you get the 1d12+1d8+1d6 part of that charge damage.  the reason I was thinking daggers was their usefulness in the eventual starblade flurry... though I am open to other suggestions.
interesting.. I am not entirely sure though how you get the 1d12+1d8+1d6 part of that charge damage.  the reason I was thinking daggers was their usefulness in the eventual starblade flurry... though I am open to other suggestions.



Vangaurd Fullblade+1, and a Horned Helm.  I believe they're level  3 and 6, so if you use standard DMG rules, you could get both. 

I was just throwing it out there for another good option for you to consider, as the githzerai are the best charging monks and you mentioned wanting Melee Training.  The dagger monk is also an excellent option, which is why I recommend it so highly in the guide.  It really depends on what you want to play, and the flavor you want.  The charger is more Japanese, and the dagger is more Chinese.   
I personally have never been a big fan of charging, and melée training is only on my list for OA's mostly
also, is there any way to get proficiency with the parrying dagger with out having to spend a wepon proficiency feat on it? (to get the +1 ac)
Okay next question:

suppose I am making a Githzerai Centered breath monk for a game in progress where the other characters are level 5:  among the feats I want are Deadly draw, versatile expertise, unarmored agility, melee training, and superior implement training for an accurate dagger... what should my feat priority be?
 



1. unarmored agility
2. versatile expertise
3. superior implement training 
4. melee training
5. deadly draw

Defense first. Early on, defense is almost all AC.
Accuracy is next priority.
Deadly draw is okay but I'd rather have melee training first.
I personally have never been a big fan of charging, and melée training is only on my list for OA's mostly



Monks are fairly feat starved.  Getting a +4 to +6 to hit to do around 10 damage once every few encounters, would not be my first choice. 

I'd try parrying dagger, weapon focus, or start in on the twfing line.  All of those are going to have a bigger impact on your overall DPS and/or survivability. 
also, is there any way to get proficiency with the parrying dagger with out having to spend a wepon proficiency feat on it? (to get the +1 ac)



Mage's Parrying Dagger
If you want even more AC:
  • +1 AC: no feats:
    • Mage's Parrying Dagger 


  • +2 AC: 1 feat:
    • Rhythm Blade Parrying Dagger + Parrying Dagger Proficiency

    • Mage's Parrying Dagger + Two-Weapon Defense*

    • Rhythm Blade Dagger + Two-Weapon Defense*


  • +3 AC: 2 feats:
    • Rhythm Blade Parrying Dagger + Parrying Dagger Proficiency + Two-Weapon Defense*



In this context, I consider Two-Weapon Fighting the equivalent of Weapon Focus in the Heroic tier. Once you advance to paragon, you should have enough room to fit in Weapon Focus itself.

I personally prefer the Rhtyhm Blade Dagger, because it still allows you to wield a club in your main hand for Crashing Tempest Style, and opens up Starblade Flurry in Paragon.
You can't really benefit from Nimble Blade this way though, unless you are prepared to "waste" your Two-Weapon Fighting feat, which only applies its bonus to your main-hand attacks.

If only there was a way to get a off-hand ki club.. 

-Enaloindir 
the reason for all my questions is my longtooth shifter ranger met an untimely demise in the last session, so I wanted to try something different, and the party make up is currently 2 defenders, 2 leaders and 2 strikers, the strikers being a brutal scoundrel rogue and a star pact warlock.  as you may guess the group has no minion masher, and since the PSG says the hidden talent of the monk is minion mashing I figured I would give it a go.  thus the reasoning behind CB, which also adds in a bit of controllerishness.  so unarmored agility at level 1 is the only feat I am sure of.  

I am open to suggestions on how to build this monk but please provide reasoning behind the suggestions.

also my apologies if this would have been more appropriately posted under a different thread. 

I personally prefer the Rhtyhm Blade Dagger, because it still allows you to wield a club in your main hand for Crashing Tempest Style, and opens up Starblade Flurry in Paragon.
You can't really benefit from Nimble Blade this way though, unless you are prepared to "waste" your Two-Weapon Fighting feat, which only applies its bonus to your main-hand attacks.

If only there was a way to get a off-hand ki club.. 

-Enaloindir 


You must use the club to attack to get the Crashing Tempest Style Bonus, just like rogues must attack with a dagger to get the dagger attack bonus.  The wording is identical, and it's specified to work this way in the FAQ. 

So if you use a club, you lose the superior implement accuracy and the nimble blade.  For a multi-attacker, I'd go with the accuracy over a +2 damage bump, but both options have their adherents. 
You don't need to hit like a freight train to kill minions, but you do need to hit.  So I'd focus on accuracy.  Go with a pre-racial 18 dex, and 14 wisdom, to max both accuracy and defense. 

For a solid multi-attacker and controller,  I'd personally go with a dagger monk with Versatile Expertise, Unarmored Agility, and then Superior Implement training.  At level 6, I'd take the Deadly Draw feat (which is tactically required for Nimble Blade) if you want more offense or parrying dagger if you want more defense. Use your slides to set up flanks with the rogue.

You have a lot of defenders and leaders, so I'd lean more on the offensive side of things and try not to get too much out in front of your party. 
  
Melee training gives you a respectable to hit, but you're still stuck with 1d4 (or 1d6)+dex+mods....which is pathetic.  Plus, things aren't going to be running away from you much.


For a monk, what is considered a good/above average +hit (with his implements)? Build I'm working on atm has +33 (at 30, ED undecided atm, may end up +34), and will most likely have combat advantage for another +2. Is this enough?
The new Class Acts: Monk article included a new At-Will, Fallen Needle. It's really, really nice; maybe not Five Storms nice, but it pairs well with it, I think.

A list of CharOp Handbooks I'm currently updating:

Heart of the Dragon: A Dragonborn's Handbook

Infernal Wrath: A Tiefling's Handbook

For a monk, what is considered a good/above average +hit (with his implements)? Build I'm working on atm has +33 (at 30, ED undecided atm, may end up +34), and will most likely have combat advantage for another +2. Is this enough?




Average monster NAD defenses are 12+level.  So at level 30, you should plan on attacking a 42 reflex.  A normal monk will have a 15 (level)+6(enhancement)+8 or9 (dexterity)+3(expertise)= 32 or 33.  So that is what average would be at level 30, and translates to a 50 to 55% hit rate.  Centered Breath with Deadly Draw will frequently be at +35.  Dagger monks can add another 2 onto that, giving a 37.  A PP like kensai will add another +1 to 38 for an 80% hit rate.  A lot of EDs give a ability bonus for another +1, for an 85% hit rate.  There are some situational bonuses you could add in, but I think a 39 is pretty close to the max for consistent attack bonuses.  At this point, if you're attacking the right defense, you shouldn't miss except on a 1 or maybe 2 if you're attacking a creature of the same level.

So average to hit at 30 wouldl be 32-34. Above average would be something like 35-36.  Accurate would be 37+       


The new Class Acts: Monk article included a new At-Will, Fallen Needle. It's really, really nice; maybe not Five Storms nice, but it pairs well with it, I think.



Yeah, after the wilden issue, I think I will cross my fingers that it gets compiled intact. 
Go with a pre-racial 18 dex, and 14 wisdom, to max both accuracy and defense. 

For a solid multi-attacker and controller,  I'd personally go with a dagger monk with Versatile Expertise, Unarmored Agility, and then Superior Implement training.  At level 6, I'd take the Deadly Draw feat (which is tactically required for Nimble Blade) if you want more offense or parrying dagger if you want more defense. Use your slides to set up flanks with the rogue.

You have a lot of defenders and leaders, so I'd lean more on the offensive side of things and try not to get too much out in front of your party. 
  
Melee training gives you a respectable to hit, but you're still stuck with 1d4 (or 1d6)+dex+mods....which is pathetic.  Plus, things aren't going to be running away from you much.




okay, so will this still be effective in combats with no minions but a number of other monsters, and or vs solo's?

Go with a pre-racial 18 dex, and 14 wisdom, to max both accuracy and defense. 

For a solid multi-attacker and controller,  I'd personally go with a dagger monk with Versatile Expertise, Unarmored Agility, and then Superior Implement training.  At level 6, I'd take the Deadly Draw feat (which is tactically required for Nimble Blade) if you want more offense or parrying dagger if you want more defense. Use your slides to set up flanks with the rogue.

You have a lot of defenders and leaders, so I'd lean more on the offensive side of things and try not to get too much out in front of your party. 
  
Melee training gives you a respectable to hit, but you're still stuck with 1d4 (or 1d6)+dex+mods....which is pathetic.  Plus, things aren't going to be running away from you much.




okay, so will this still be effective in combats with no minions but a number of other monsters, and or vs solo's?




Accuracy and defense are useful against everything.  You are at your best however when there are multiple enemies. 
I am building an Eternal Seeker monk/ranger, and I'm trying to choose a level 25 daily
So far I've narrowed it down to
Blade Cascade and Watchful Hydra Stance

Blade Cascade's potential is well-documented, but Watchful Hydra Stance is a fantastic multitarget power that triggers a very useful stance.

What is your opinion? 
I am building an Eternal Seeker monk/ranger, and I'm trying to choose a level 25 daily
So far I've narrowed it down to
Blade Cascade and Watchful Hydra Stance

Blade Cascade's potential is well-documented, but Watchful Hydra Stance is a fantastic multitarget power that triggers a very useful stance.

What is your opinion? 



My two CP:

I'd go with Hydra Stance, due to the ability to target more enemies, and continue dealing damage to more enemies every round if you use it early in the encounter. Blade Cascade does have some awesome single target damage potential, but it can also whiff on the first hit and grant you absolutely nothing.

I'm also not sure right now how the Monk's Unarmed Strike interacts with Two Weapon dependent effects.

I'm also not sure right now how the Monk's Unarmed Strike interacts with Two Weapon dependent effects.


I'm wielding a Rhythm Blade dagger in my offhand at the moment (to qualify for Starblade Flurry), so I shouldn't have any problem with dual-wielding requirements regardless of how offhand strike interacts with it.
So let's say I have a character who was just "born" into a campaign. He was a monk who died, and then came back. Long story short, it turns out he's a Deva who will forever hunt demons and other evil denizens which infiltrate the world.

While the Deva race doesn't pair harmoniously with the Monk class (which is fine, as we are players of the story-first variety with the "math-hammer" application usually a secondary stratagem of our gaming sessions), what tactics could I use to optimize such a strange union?

He's supposed to be somewhere between level(s) 21-23 to start. Paragon Paths, Epic Destinies, or even a little multi-class dabbling suggestions are welcomed, but he must predominantly remain a monk.

For flavor, he wields a scimitar-looking blade which closely resembles a 9-ringed Kung Fu Broadsword, or a Chinese Dao (like this: www.gungfu.com/pics-info-pages/swords-ch...; or this: www.swordsoftheeast.com/images/view.aspx...). It lights itself on fire in the presence of astral or primordial evil.

As you may have guessed, I'm in a bit of a creative pickle with this one in terms of building an optimal character.

How do I maintain this wicked-cool backstory while still making a viable Monk? Furthermore, while Monks are specialists at taking on multiple opponents - and this character is apparently famous for taking on entire armies - he must also be able to square off with super-evil-friend-of-random-Abyssal-terror-guy and win.

Suggestions? Undecided
*BUMP*

Seriously....I have a gaming session coming up and want to appear at least moderately competent.
I am building an Eternal Seeker monk/ranger, and I'm trying to choose a level 25 daily
So far I've narrowed it down to
Blade Cascade and Watchful Hydra Stance

Blade Cascade's potential is well-documented, but Watchful Hydra Stance is a fantastic multitarget power that triggers a very useful stance.

What is your opinion?

I'm wielding a Rhythm Blade dagger in my offhand at the moment (to qualify for Starblade Flurry), so I shouldn't have any problem with dual-wielding requirements regardless of how offhand strike interacts with it 



Ok, lets go over the pros and cons.
Blade Cascade Pros: phenomenal single target damage, which is a monk weakness.
Blade Cascade Cons: requires an updated second weapon, which is only a dagger in your case, and a very good main weapon, which is isn't required for most monk stuff.

Watchful Hydra Stance pros: Awesome multi-target attack and a decent stance.
Cons: You already have a lot of stance powers at this level, and it doesn't help you focus fire.

As you're wielding only a dagger, I'd have to go with Watchful Hydra Stance.  If you were, for whatever reason, using a much bigger weapon, then I might recommend Blade Cascade as it does counter a significant monk weakness. 

If you have a decent strength and a decent main hand weapon, have you thought about taking some nice charging powers?  That would also allow you to up your single target damage when you need it.


So let's say I have a character who was just "born" into a campaign. He was a monk who died, and then came back. Long story short, it turns out he's a Deva who will forever hunt demons and other evil denizens which infiltrate the world.

While the Deva race doesn't pair harmoniously with the Monk class (which is fine, as we are players of the story-first variety with the "math-hammer" application usually a secondary stratagem of our gaming sessions), what tactics could I use to optimize such a strange union?

He's supposed to be somewhere between level(s) 21-23 to start. Paragon Paths, Epic Destinies, or even a little multi-class dabbling suggestions are welcomed, but he must predominantly remain a monk.

For flavor, he wields a scimitar-looking blade which closely resembles a 9-ringed Kung Fu Broadsword, or a Chinese Dao (like this: www.gungfu.com/pics-info-pages/swords-ch...; or this: www.swordsoftheeast.com/images/view.aspx...). It lights itself on fire in the presence of astral or primordial evil.

As you may have guessed, I'm in a bit of a creative pickle with this one in terms of building an optimal character.

How do I maintain this wicked-cool backstory while still making a viable Monk? Furthermore, while Monks are specialists at taking on multiple opponents - and this character is apparently famous for taking on entire armies - he must also be able to square off with super-evil-friend-of-random-Abyssal-terror-guy and win.

Suggestions?



Ok, from what I'm hearing, I'm understanding that you are stuck as a deva, and need to be able to solo some monsters while remaining primarily monk.  

I would say that exploiting vulnerabilities, especially radiant vulnerabilities might be your best bet.  Demons have variable resistances but aren't allowed to pick radiant by RAW. 

I would take the Divine Channeler feat, and Solar Enemy.  I would then take either Morninglord or Radiant Fist.  Morninglord allows you to grant massive radiant vulnerabilities.  Radiant Fist allows you to take use of the solar enemy twice per hit, once from the attack itself, once through Flurry of Blows.

I also think strongly about taking melee training and optimising your charge in order to allow you to do decent single target damage in your "duels." 

Use some sort of radiant weapon, which gives you a item bonus to damage as well.
If he's going Morninglord, they nerfed symbol of divine light. Pity.
So let's say I have a character who was just "born" into a campaign. He was a monk who died, and then came back. Long story short, it turns out he's a Deva who will forever hunt demons and other evil denizens which infiltrate the world.

While the Deva race doesn't pair harmoniously with the Monk class (which is fine, as we are players of the story-first variety with the "math-hammer" application usually a secondary stratagem of our gaming sessions), what tactics could I use to optimize such a strange union?

He's supposed to be somewhere between level(s) 21-23 to start. Paragon Paths, Epic Destinies, or even a little multi-class dabbling suggestions are welcomed, but he must predominantly remain a monk.

For flavor, he wields a scimitar-looking blade which closely resembles a 9-ringed Kung Fu Broadsword, or a Chinese Dao (like this: www.gungfu.com/pics-info-pages/swords-ch...; or this: www.swordsoftheeast.com/images/view.aspx...). It lights itself on fire in the presence of astral or primordial evil.

As you may have guessed, I'm in a bit of a creative pickle with this one in terms of building an optimal character.

How do I maintain this wicked-cool backstory while still making a viable Monk? Furthermore, while Monks are specialists at taking on multiple opponents - and this character is apparently famous for taking on entire armies - he must also be able to square off with super-evil-friend-of-random-Abyssal-terror-guy and win.

Suggestions?

Heya GhostChicken.

Personally I don't find the idea of a Deva monk all that strange a union.  Sure you don't have a Dex racial but other than that, to me they fit thematically just fine.

Anyway, here's some thoughts I had:
* first off I'd go Centered Breath, as the Deva Wis mod will help there, and if you're going to be fighting lots of bad guys, the sliding might help you get flanked less
* I'd go with an 18/14 array on Dex/Wis and bump them all the way.  With Demigod or Chosen you'll end up with 26 Dex 24 Wis by the level 22 or 23 that you're playing which is quite respectable.
* skills wise, with Dex & Wis, I'd train acrobatics, stealth, insight & perception to help you infiltrate and thwart the schemes of those nasty demons & devils
* for feats you'll need weapon proficiency in whatever your DM wants to treat your 9-ringed broadsword (scimitar perhaps?) along with all the usual focus, expertise, melee training etc. Then there's a bunch of feats that buff your at-wills (if you're fighting legions of nasties for days you're going to run out of encounter powers) like Simple Precision and Effortless Motion.
*  Item-wise, check out the Ayrkashna Armor set, it's perfect for you !  Adding fire resist to the racial radiant & necrotic resist means you can fight armies of demons & devil minions.  Plus the weapon sounds thematically just like the one you describe.  Maybe throw in some items that help with adding resists to you, or piercing resists & immunities the demons & devils are likely to have, and you should be shaping up well.

Here's my first cut at a starting point for you:
Show

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
level 23
Deva, Monk, Initiate of the Dragon, Demigod
Monastic Tradition: Centered Breath
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blade)
Versatile Expertise: Versatile Expertise (Ki Focuses)
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Dexterity
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Wisdom

FINAL ABILITY SCORESStr 13, Con 12, Dex 26, Int 14, Wis 24, Cha 10.
STARTING ABILITY SCORESStr 11, Con 10, Dex 18, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.

AC: 41 Fort: 33 Reflex: 38 Will: 37
HP: 134 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 33

TRAINED SKILLSPerception +25, Stealth +24, Acrobatics +24, Insight +25
UNTRAINED SKILLSArcana +13, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +11, Dungeoneering +18, Endurance +12, Heal +18, History +15, Intimidate +11, Nature +18, Religion +15, Streetwise +11, Thievery +19, Athletics +12

FEATS
Level 1: Versatile Expertise
Level 2: Unarmored Agility
Level 4: Weapon Proficiency (Scimitar)
Level 6: Weapon Focus (Heavy Blade)
Level 8: Melee Training (Dexterity)
Level 10: Weapon Proficiency (Parrying dagger)
Level 11: Brutal Flurry
Level 12: Simple Precision
Level 14: Effortless Motion
Level 16: Fleet-Footed
Level 18: Astral Renewal
Level 20: Heavenly Heritage
Level 21: Robust Defenses
Level 22: Superior Initiative

POWERS
Monk at-will 1: Five StormsMonk at-will 1: Dancing Cobra

ITEMS
Efreetweave Armor of Essence Inviolate +5, Crest of Vigilance Eternal (paragon tier), Helm of Vision Unclouded (paragon tier), Sash of Vitality Ceaseless (paragon tier), Chaos Cloak +5, Mighty Strike Ki Focus +5, Scimitar of Evil Undone +2, Gauntlets of the Blood War (paragon tier), Boots of Striding and Springing (paragon tier), Stormcatcher Ring (paragon tier), Premonition Ring (paragon tier), Rhythm Blade Parrying dagger +1
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======


 

Comments:
So he's got an AC of 41 which is quite nice, +1 if he uses a monk at-will movement technique, +1d6 when you use Mo1KL.  You could take Epic Fort when you hit 24 and then all your NAD's would be 37-38. 
His attacks are ok at +26 vs Ref, +1 with monk at-wills, +2 if your Astral Resist fires, +1d6 when you use Mo1KL.  
He has nice resistances, radiant 16, necrotic 16, fire 21, lightning 10, thunder 10, and resist 15 to all dmg from elemental creatures (which demons are).  Also, whenever you take fire dmg you gain 7 temp hps (consider picking up resist cold so that you get them from cold too?).
His dmg is ok, not super optimized, but he gets +3 vs immortals (which devils are), and another +2 if you took fire dmg and has a daily that makes his attacks ignore all resistances and immunities
His Flurry of Blows hits for 12/16:  9 (base) + 2 (PP) +1 (ki focus) +4 (if single target - brutal flurry) & ignores all resistances 
His at-will movement speed is 10: 6 (base) +1 (Fleet-footed) +1 (Boots of Striding & Springing) +2 (Dancing Cobra) and gives +1 AC as described above.

All in all, he's nowhere near finished yet, but at least this might give you a starting point.  Note that I haven't used any radiant cheese or anything as has been suggested, though you could if that fit your char concept.

Hope this helps !
Wow, that's a lot of info! Thanks guys! I'll put something together with the suggestions from these comments and post him up later today!