No Paper Tigers!!!!: The Monk Handbook

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Hi everyone,

I would like some info and feedback on my build. 
I started with an Eladrin Monk but due to a botched resurection spell I came back as a bugbear.

Level 9:
Race: Bugbear
Monastic Tradition Option: Centered Breath, I fight using a Ki spear +2 (lvl8)
exp: 19007 and gld: 1018

Abilities:
Strength: 12   Constitution: 11   Dexterity: 22   Intelligence: 10   Wisdom: 16   Charisma: 8

Defenses:
AC:26  Fort:20   REF:24   WILL:21

HP:
max HP:63  Surge Value:15  Surge/day: 7

Skills:
Trained in: acrobatics +15, athletics +10, endurance +9, perception +14

Features:
Racial:  Oversized,   Predator Eye
Class: Monastic tradition,  Centered Breath, Unarmed Combatant, Unarmed Defense
Feats: Unarmored agility, Spear expertise, Pointed step style, Deadly draw, Improved Defenses

Actions:
At-Will: Dancing Cobra, Five storms
Encounter: Drunken Monkey, Resounding Stike, Arc of the flashing storm, swift flight and Predator eye
Daily: Masterful Spiral, Supreme Avalanche, Crane Dance adn Centered Defense
No Action: centured flurry of blows

Weapons and magical Items: we won many during battle and I bought a few
Ki Spear +2 (lvl 8) gift
Brooch of no regrets +2 (lvl 8) gift
Boots if the fencing master (lvl 7) bought
Iron Armbands of power (lvl 6) bought
Gauntlets of blinding strikes (11) gift
Survivor's cloth armor (lvl 9) gift
Healers's Sash (lvl11) gift
phantom soldier (lvl 7) gift 

Other equipment:
Shuriken, dagger, Adventure's Kit, Candle, Climber's kit, tent, silk rope, thieves tools torch, trail rations, ki focus 

Thanks for reading through this. Our Dm has also asked if we have some rare items we would want so he can add it to possible treasures.
And has someone a suggestion for a good theme for my (see above) build?

Cheers,
S

BTW, that is a very good pixie monk build, although your goblin totem doesn't stack with your iron armbands.  Have you tried ki or shielding wrist razors?  




Thank you very much. Hmmm... iron armbands and goblintotem are both item bonuses right. Drats! I'll stick with goblin totem, and pick up something else, since goblin totem applies all the time. I was looking at the ki... but the monk is dagger focused, so I wouldn't benefit from the ki properties right?



I was talking about Ki Wrist Razors to fill your now empty arms slot.  I think you already have a Ki Club.  However, there is no rule they don't stack, so you might ask you DM if they stack. 

As implements, Ki Focus commonly have properties that apply even if you don't attack with them.  For example, Rain of Hammers Ki Focus is a favorite and gives you a small daily nova ability.

Hi everyone,

I would like some info and feedback on my build. 
I started with an Eladrin Monk but due to a botched resurection spell I came back as a bugbear.

Feats: Unarmored agility, Spear expertise, Pointed step style, Deadly draw, Improved Defenses

Thanks for reading through this. Our Dm has also asked if we have some rare items we would want so he can add it to possible treasures.
And has someone a suggestion for a good theme for my (see above) build?



Spear expertise doesn't apply to implement attacks. Take Versatile Expertise instead.    Everything else looks pretty solid for a spear user.  With that said, Eladrin have a tasty longsword feat that gives +1 to hit if you decide to go that route.  

Rare items tend not to be any better than non-rare items, at least until epic tier where you get the rare fly speed armor.  Greater Armor of Eyes also could be nice.  Nothing else comes to mind off-hand.
 
I have a level 16 iron soul monk with these defenses: AC: 32 Fort: 30 Ref: 34 Will: 26

Would it be worth trading Starblade Flurry to take Two Weapon Defense and a Rhythm Dagger? That would be one less flurry target at range in exchange for +2 to AC and Reflex.
I have a level 16 iron soul monk with these defenses: AC: 32 Fort: 30 Ref: 34 Will: 26

Would it be worth trading Starblade Flurry to take Two Weapon Defense and a Rhythm Dagger? That would be one less flurry target at range in exchange for +2 to AC and Reflex.



Your AC does seem a bit low for a monk.  You already have a shield bonus for being an iron soul, so TWD won't help you.   A Rhythm Dagger would help, as would a defensive weapon, Iron Parry, or Whirling Iron Defense. 

With that said, I would keep Starblade Flurry, as it adds both damage and control as you can pin enemies in bad spots, like next to the defender or you.   I would trade some other feat out.

Without seeing more of your build, it's hard to give specific advice. 
If you take Leather Armor Proficiency, doesn't the +2 bonus to AC from leather armor balance out the +2 AC bonus from unarmored combat?

There's a particular armor enchant I'm trying to get, and I'm wondering if my AC is so low because of the above exchange.

I already have Whirling Iron Defense, and a Rhythm Dagger, and Iron Parry is only +1 to AC and wouldn't work if I was in leather.
If you take Leather Armor Proficiency, doesn't the +2 bonus to AC from leather armor balance out the +2 AC bonus from unarmored combat?

There's a particular armor enchant I'm trying to get, and I'm wondering if my AC is so low because of the above exchange.

I already have Whirling Iron Defense, and a Rhythm Dagger, and Iron Parry is only +1 to AC and wouldn't work if I was in leather.



No it doesn't balance out.  You lost your monk +2 to Ac, and can't take unarmored agility and there is no equivalent feat for leather.  So you lost 2 ac by going leather, with the same feat cost as if you bought Unarmored Agility instead of leather. 

With that said, hybrids with hide armor and possibly something else can do well in some games.  For example, in Living Dark Sun (AoA),  I play a Monk|Battlemind in hide and shield, and it works better than if I would have been a pure monk as far as defense go. 
I see, it's the Unarmored Agility. Thanks. My next question is - with hide, I can jump/charge 9 squares, ignoring slow, and clearing 10 feet off the ground for leaping over Large mobs. Without it, I can only jump 8, can only jump/charge 2 with slow, and can only clear 9 feet, restricting me to hopping over Medium mobs only, and incuring OAs from them when I do. Is that 2 AC worth it?
I see, it's the Unarmored Agility. Thanks. My next question is - with hide, I can jump/charge 9 squares, ignoring slow, and clearing 10 feet off the ground for leaping over Large mobs. Without it, I can only jump 8, can only jump/charge 2 with slow, and can only clear 9 feet, restricting me to hopping over Medium mobs only. Is that 2 AC worth it?



I think you may have a very specific build, as I've never gotten this sort of question before. 

For a comparison on you levels of defenses, my level 16 CB monk build has a standing AC of 36, with 2 feats spent on AC, and only a shielding blade for item support.  Just adding in a heroic Chain Shirt will give a 37.   You have a 32 AC, with perhaps more feats spent, and perhaps better item support.

High defenses help you avoid conditions totally. Most monks don't charge.  And I've needed to jump over creatures only a couple of times, but my monk also has had an encounter fly power from level 2 and a climb speed from about level 6.  Much of what you're describing could be accomplished by bracers of brachiation and/or a flying hook, or being a halfling (move through large creatures) or pixie (move through everyone, and fly).   For example, to move around a roadblock of a large creature, you would minor set flying hook behind monsters, shift 2 diagonally along cord as move action,  then drop as free action, and it doesn't provoke OAs.  The downside is that the might not be anything overhead, but there typically is a tree or something.  If there is a wall near, a climb speed lets you simply shift around roadblocks by medium creatures.   A Climb speed also lets you avoid flanking by medium creatures if you're next to a wall.

Of course, pixies can do all of this at level 1.  All hail the pixie queen!
I have a very specific build in mind, as you said, but I think I've solved this particular problem with a polyglot gem and some syllables of grace. The goal is to make an optimized jumping monk - not flying, not climbing, but jumping. I'll post a build to the main forum later today. Look for "Sproing!". And thank you very much for your advice, I'll definitely have to make sure his defenses are up to par.

You piqued my interest with the flying hook, though, how would you shift two squares along a rope and then fall without ending adjacent?
I have a very specific build in mind, as you said, but I think I've solved this particular problem with a polyglot gem and some syllables of grace. The goal is to make an optimized jumping monk - not flying, not climbing, but jumping. I'll post a build to the main forum later today. Look for "Sproing!". And thank you very much for your advice, I'll definitely have to make sure his defenses are up to par.

You piqued my interest with the flying hook, though, how would you shift two squares along a rope and then fall without ending adjacent?



Climb Speed+Five Storms movement power allows you to shift two to get around a large roadblock.  You would still end up adjacent, which is commonly the goal (to flank and/or move away next round) but that is typically where I would use a daily like Spinning Leopard or Mithral Tornado to get where I'd want to go.   If you charge a lot, BoB would also allow you to move away even if you are adjacent. 

Remember for Sproing, which is a fun concept I toyed with on my own a while back, that jumping still provokes from those adjacent and those you pass overhead while adjacent.
Wouldn't falling next to a monster incur an OA, as you'd be moving from one adjacent square to another?

And I think I've solved the overhead OA problem - if you leap 9, you clear 10 feet. The rules on long jump don't specify where in your jump you can clear, the beginning/middle/end, just that you clear 10 feet. So, mechanically, it's as if you went up 2 squares, went forward 9, then down 2. Which lets me ignore OAs from any medium sized monsters I travel over, so long as I don't start or end my leap next to one. For starting a leap, there's shifting and FoB to clear the launch pad.

That, and Badge of the Berserker means that this guy's mobility is pretty outstanding. And thanks to your advice, his standing AC is 36, 38 while bloodied, 39 with whirling iron.
Wait, so if you tried to jump further than your speed, you can fall after you reach your destination and not incur OAs from your landing either? Neat.
Hey guys, I'm not really a monk man, but I saw this and I figured it might interest you. 2cp for your thoughts?

There's a daily called Duel of the Fates. It does some damage and makes the target grant CA (save ends), but the kicker is the effect. It basically boils down to "We are now stuck in a room together until on ofe us is dead". Plus, there's the obvious Star Wars reference.



What do you think? Interesting stuff?
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Hey guys, I'm not really a monk man, but I saw this and I figured it might interest you. 2cp for your thoughts?

There's a daily called Duel of the Fates. It does some damage and makes the target grant CA (save ends), but the kicker is the effect. It basically boils down to "We are now stuck in a room together until on ofe us is dead". Plus, there's the obvious Star Wars reference.



What do you think? Interesting stuff?


...That would be a really interesting Rogue or Ranger daily. But it's a horrible, horrible Monk daily. Playing a Monk, I hate seeing solos in any form, so I can think of no good reason to create another solo.
Hey guys, I'm not really a monk man, but I saw this and I figured it might interest you. 2cp for your thoughts?

There's a daily called Duel of the Fates. It does some damage and makes the target grant CA (save ends), but the kicker is the effect. It basically boils down to "We are now stuck in a room together until on ofe us is dead". Plus, there's the obvious Star Wars reference.



What do you think? Interesting stuff?


...That would be a really interesting Rogue or Ranger daily. But it's a horrible, horrible Monk daily. Playing a Monk, I hate seeing solos in any form, so I can think of no good reason to create another solo.



Good thing it can be one through multiclassing, eh? Since the Effect triggers regardless of the main thing hitting...
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Thanks all for the advice and sorry for the late reply.

As I've only taken one non-burst/blast ability, Masterful Spiral's reach bonus doesn't help much (i think).. but it's damage is nice compared to others.  I had taken Steel Wind over Five Storms for the mark removal, but I do tend to like the bursts more.  I'll try it out.

For feats, I'm leaning towards Melee Training so I don't have to do anything funky to get things to work right. 

I also seem to be having an issue with the CB, does it not have a spot to eqiup the Elven Chain Shirt?  It also it's liking me equiping the Rain of Hammers Ki Focus either, I try but it just reverts back to blank.

I also seem to be having an issue with the CB, does it not have a spot to eqiup the Elven Chain Shirt?  It also it's liking me equiping the Rain of Hammers Ki Focus either, I try but it just reverts back to blank.



The elven chain shirt doesn't need to be equiped.  It's a wonderous item, which tend to be slotless.  Are you equiping the ki focus in the ki focus slot on the bottom right?   
The builder will often spontaneously un-equip ki foci.  I'm not sure what the trigger is, but all I've ever needed to do is re-equip it and it'll stick until the next time I open the builder.
Yeah, trying to put it in the Ki Focus slot, just doesn't stick.  /shrug  I mainly use it for the property anyways so it's not a big deal
So if I ditch the ironarmbands of power, what's a comparable lvl 6 item to take in it's place? A ki focus... even though I'm not specced to use them?

I've been curious just how often you benefit from Rain of Blows ki furry... is it worth taking?
So if I ditch the ironarmbands of power, what's a comparable lvl 6 item to take in it's place? A ki focus... even though I'm not specced to use them?

I've been curious just how often you benefit from Rain of Blows ki furry... is it worth taking?



Quickhit Bracers level 14 if you have Internalize The Basic Kata. Otherwise leave it open and focus on the Hands slot. The field is surprisingly sparse.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
So if I ditch the ironarmbands of power, what's a comparable lvl 6 item to take in it's place? A ki focus... even though I'm not specced to use them?

I've been curious just how often you benefit from Rain of Blows ki furry... is it worth taking?



It gives you kill one minion kill another minion power, which is ok at low levels.  The real benefit as you level is the daily, which gives you another at-will attack as a minor.  Five storms as a minor is nice, especially for a level 3 item. 

I don't understand how Quickhit Braces could be useful for 99% of monks.  I mean what monk attacks with a main and off hand weapon that isn't pertending to be a ranger?    
If your arms slot is empty, couters of second chances are always good.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
If your arms slot is empty, couters of second chances are always good.


A lot of monks tend not to make melee attacks, which I'm assuming is why he's getting rid of IoP.  You probably would find sometime to use the Couters ability sometime during the day however. 

If you want a more constant effect:
If you want something offensive, Ki Wrist razors are what you're looking for.  Defensive, then shielding wrist razors.  Utility, bracer of brachiation.
So if I ditch the ironarmbands of power, what's a comparable lvl 6 item to take in it's place? A ki focus... even though I'm not specced to use them?

I've been curious just how often you benefit from Rain of Blows ki furry... is it worth taking?



It gives you kill one minion kill another minion power, which is ok at low levels.  The real benefit as you level is the daily, which gives you another at-will attack as a minor.  Five storms as a minor is nice, especially for a level 3 item. 

I don't understand how Quickhit Braces could be useful for 99% of monks.  I mean what monk attacks with a main and off hand weapon that isn't pertending to be a ranger?    



The monk that starts delving into unusual ways to boost his class?

Which reminds me: Counterstrike Guards, too. That's another good one, though again it need Internalize The Basic Kata and it's high-ish level IIRC. And though this one is more speculative because I haven't looked at them in a while, Bloodsoaked Bracers might work with the Monk, and if they do that's a colossal bonus to damage if you don't mind playing with fire.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Putting twin strike on a monk doesm't boost the monk class.
Putting twin strike on a monk doesm't boost the monk class.



Tsk tsk tsk. You're thinking stupid, Kender. You're thinking theory instead of practice. And it doesn't suit you. Think smart, think practical. You legitimately cannot see the ways to get a cheap nova on a Monk for when you're just a bit tired of that one guy? Allow me to help you. Ranger Multiclass, swap a power for a double hitter. This isn't even a ridiculous scenario, is it? I'm sure you've looked at recent monk builds and liked what you saw. With this setup, you get a triple-hitter (possibly quad hitter depending on what you're willing to do) for the opportunity cost of a feat and a slot you probably weren't using (because of course, you did pick up Starblade Flurry anyway, quiaff? So, why not?). A real solid deal if you ask me. You already have reliable powers to use. What you need is options. And this provides you with an option.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Putting twin strike on a monk doesm't boost the monk class.



Tsk tsk tsk. You're thinking stupid, Kender. You're thinking theory instead of practice. And it doesn't suit you. Think smart, think practical. You legitimately cannot see the ways to get a cheap nova on a Monk for when you're just a bit tired of that one guy? Allow me to help you. Ranger Multiclass, swap a power for a double hitter. This isn't even a ridiculous scenario, is it? I'm sure you've looked at recent monk builds and liked what you saw. With this setup, you get a triple-hitter (possibly quad hitter depending on what you're willing to do) for the opportunity cost of a feat and a slot you probably weren't using (because of course, you did pick up Starblade Flurry anyway, quiaff? So, why not?). A real solid deal if you ask me. You already have reliable powers to use. What you need is options. And this provides you with an option.



Before you go praising your intelligence too much, you do realize that the poster was trying to get rid of IoP presumably because he's not making enough melee attacks to make use of the item bonus?  This is not at all uncommon for monks.  It's not like the poster is simply tired of having IoP on every front line character.  Thus, reading off the B-list arms slots listed on the ranger or avenger guide isn't helpful.  It's not even smart, as the smart thing for a melee power specialist would be to take IoP. 

   
 
So I'm wondering if this would work: Using a spear as an implement, can I get a Polearm Momentum prone to go off from a Centered Flurry of Blows? Based on the way Flurry of Blows works, its basically used as part of the attack, either before or after the hit line as a non-action, so would this work, if I used a Stunning Palm to stun an enemy and then Centered Flurry of Blows to slide it 2 and knock it down?

Assuming I'm wearing Rushing Cleats to increase all my slide distance by 1.
So I'm wondering if this would work: Using a spear as an implement, can I get a Polearm Momentum prone to go off from a Centered Flurry of Blows? Based on the way Flurry of Blows works, its basically used as part of the attack, either before or after the hit line as a non-action, so would this work, if I used a Stunning Palm to stun an enemy and then Centered Flurry of Blows to slide it 2 and knock it down?

Assuming I'm wearing Rushing Cleats to increase all my slide distance by 1.



Nope.  I wish it did, but it doesn't work.  FoB doesn't have the weapon or implement keywords, so you're not using your spear for your FoB
A quick question: how do you use the Honorable Blade PP to work with Resounding Thunder? The level 11 feature lets you add your breath damage type, but thunder is not one of the allowed breath types.
A quick question: how do you use the Honorable Blade PP to work with Resounding Thunder? The level 11 feature lets you add your breath damage type, but thunder is not one of the allowed breath types.


You start out with Lightning Breath, then take the Thundering Breath feat to add the Thunder damage type.
furious_kender, thanks again for linking to my monk, Master Pai Mei

In the accompanying description you say you disagree with some feat choices. Could you tell me which one(s) you disagree with, and why? Either here or in the build thread, both are fine with me. 

For reference, here's the feat list: 

Show
1 - Internalize the Basic Kata
2 - Unarmored Agility
4 - Ki Focus Expertise
6 - Slashing Kama Style
8 - Beshaba's Boon
10 - Sneak of Shadows
11 - Briar Thorns 
12 - World Serpent's Grasp
14 - Improved Defenses
16 - Iron Parry
18 - Superior Implement Training (Accurate Ki Focus)
20 - Whirling Iron Defense 


Feats 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 11 and 12 are pretty much mandatory since they allow the build to function properly. The rest of the feats either increase accuracy, defenses (which is the build's schtick) or grant temp HPs. What would you change to make it more effective?
furious_kender, thanks again for linking to my monk, Master Pai Mei

In the accompanying description you say you disagree with some feat choices. Could you tell me which one(s) you disagree with, and why? Either here or in the build thread, both are fine with me. 

For reference, here's the feat list: 

Show
1 - Internalize the Basic Kata
2 - Unarmored Agility
4 - Ki Focus Expertise
6 - Slashing Kama Style
8 - Beshaba's Boon
10 - Sneak of Shadows
11 - Briar Thorns 
12 - World Serpent's Grasp
14 - Improved Defenses
16 - Iron Parry
18 - Superior Implement Training (Accurate Ki Focus)
20 - Whirling Iron Defense 


Feats 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 11 and 12 are pretty much mandatory since they allow the build to function properly. The rest of the feats either increase accuracy, defenses (which is the build's schtick) or grant temp HPs. What would you change to make it more effective?



For some reason, I thought I already did.  But when I look over the thread, I realize I didn't post them for some reason. Sorry about that.

Pai Mei is a high defense striker that has solid defender capabilities.  At low levels, it's a pretty standard Iron Soul, but your feats don't really reflect that by putting Internalize the Basic Kata at level 1.  It's probably a level 4 or 6 feat, unless you're the only defender in the party.  At Level 8, you take Besheba's Boon, which gives THP on a failed save.  You have high defenses so thp are less important than defenses, especially because if you're dazed or whatnot, you stop being a defender.  Elites and Solos will only fail to save 35% and 20% of the time, which is who you will need the thp against.  As a result, you're probably better off getting  putting a defensive feat there or getting that Superior Implement you're putting off until all the way at level 18.  For example, my Drunken Boxer build has both accuracy feats at level 2, so that I can continue being a striker while developing off-role capabilities.  

Another example, in the Dark Sun Living Campaign, I play a halfling Iron Soul|Battlemind.  My feats look like this:
1 Defensive (Hybrid Talent Armor)
2 Ki Focus Expertise
4 Defensive (Lost in the Crowd)
6 Superior Implement: Accurate Ki Focus

This is a very effective build that functions as both a striker and a defender in a campaign without any magical item availability (hence, the shield and armor usage on a monk).  I do have a power usable as an OA since level 3 (I believe), which I've used something like once or twice per level.  If I didn't, I would have gotten it at level 6.    
 
You might want to add ordained priest to your theme section.  Shining symbol is the only implement blast theme encounter power that I am aware of (elemental book might have some) and its party friendly with radiant damage and a decent debuff.  The other features are decent, but nothing special for monks.  Monks don't have many close blast powers and its not like they have any must have themes so far.
Hmm. If you wanted to get an arcane MC on an Iron Soul Monk, which one would be the best (or at leas the least painful)? I'm leaning towards Master of Stories. I figure that EVERY arcane MC is going to take some kind of off-stat, and CHA is less wasted than INT (I can avoid WIS powers and just use CHA as my Will stat)—and an encounter heal doesn't go amiss. Are there any better options that I'm missing? I'm not looking into heavy power-swapping or alternate PPs . . . I just need an arcane MC of whatever type.
MC binder has no stat restrictions, actually.
Hmm. If you wanted to get an arcane MC on an Iron Soul Monk, which one would be the best (or at leas the least painful)? I'm leaning towards Master of Stories. I figure that EVERY arcane MC is going to take some kind of off-stat, and CHA is less wasted than INT (I can avoid WIS powers and just use CHA as my Will stat)—and an encounter heal doesn't go amiss. Are there any better options that I'm missing? I'm not looking into heavy power-swapping or alternate PPs . . . I just need an arcane MC of whatever type.



MC binder has no stat restrictions, actually.




Binder is the easiest to get, without a doubt, and some of the pact boons are decent at heroic.  Swordmage gives you a nice encounter long effect, and qualifies you for Malec Keth PP, which is awesome-sauce.  Master of Stories is probably next on the list.     

Well I see you should get a good dagger and attack with it and keep your club main hand for +2 bonus damage feat.

But with starblade flurry you are actually throwing your dagger, it's it a problem to throw a 20k gold dagger @ an enemy? What happens with it when you threw it? 
Well I see you should get a good dagger and attack with it and keep your club main hand for +2 bonus damage feat.

But with starblade flurry you are actually throwing your dagger, it's it a problem to throw a 20k gold dagger @ an enemy? What happens with it when you threw it? 


Then you'd better finish the enemy off quickly before it runs away with your dagger lodged in its shoulder. 

Unless the dagger is magical of course, then it just returns to your hand immediately after you've thrown it.
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