The Drunken Boxer: Centered Breath Master of Defense

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This is a build for my monk handbook.  I wanted this to be gear independent, so I pretty much only assumed basic gear.  However, my DPR calculations include a couple extra items just because everyone is used to seeing completely optimized DPR estimates. 

The Drunken Boxer: Centered Breath Master of Defense
This is a fun build that specializes in defense (to well above normal defender levels) so that it can fight while completely surrounded without a defender. This is very playable from level 1, and it has no weak levels. 

It also has a lot of control effects for a monk, with a lot of dazes, stuns and weakening.  Ghostwalker combined with Centered Breath CA manufacturing means that it has a lot of stealth capabilities as well.

Damage is in the normal ranges for a monk, which is lower than single-target strikers like a rogue or barbarian. But, after converting DPR for the AoE nature of the monk attacks, this build has intended striker DPR.  However, the build also has enough hard control that it can be very useful versus solos and the like even if it doesn't put out a ton of single target damage. 

This build is a good base for the "Spiderman" monk that uses a Flying Hook and Bracers of Brachiation to do a decent Spiderman impression. 

Build

Race: Human (for +1 to NADS, extra feat, extra at-will)
Background: Auspicious Birth (for dexterity to HP)
Monastic Tradition: Centered Breath (Sliding enemies synergizes well will many feats and with Ghostwalker)
Paragon Path: Ghostwalker (for concealment while CA and nice control powers)
Level: 16

Starting Abilities/Level 16 Abilities
Str: 10/11
Con: 11/12
Dex: 20/24
Int: 8/9
Wis: 14/18
Cha: 10/11

AC: 36 (+2 AC if enemy grants CA)
Fort: 29
Reflex: 34 
Will: 30
The build will also always have concealment and/or a defensive stance up, for an additional +2 to 4 (equivalent) to all defenses.  

HP: 111
Surges: 8

Feats
1: Versatile Expertise (to hit is essential)
1 (human): Unarmored Expertise (+2 to AC)
2: Superior Implement Training: Accurate Dagger (to hit is essential)
4: Weapon Profeciency: Parrying Dagger (+1 to AC)
6: Superior Will (+1 to will  and save on daze and stun at beginning of turn)
8: Improved Defenses (+2 to all NADs)
10: Deadly Draw (Gives CA versus any enemies I slide using FoB, which enables PP features and other feats to function constantly)
11: Starblade Flurry (+1 FoB Target, which helps to pull more targets into burst range)
12: Uncanny Dodge (Enemies don't get +2 to hit if you grant CA)
14: Defensive Advantage (+2 to AC versus enemies granting CA)
16: Implement Focus: Dagger (+2 damage)

At-Will Powers:
Five Storms, Steel Wind, and Crane's Wings

Encounter Powers:
Drunken Monkey, Eternal Mountain, Furious Bull

Utility Powers:
Swift Flight, Centered Defense, Iron Dragon Defense, Stance of the Still Sword

Daily Powers:
Spinning Leopard Maneuver, Stunning Palm, Mithral Tornado

Assumed Equipment: +4 Feyweave Cloth Armor, +4 Neck, +4 Accurate Dagger,
+1 Rhythm Blade Parrying Dagger (or Shielding Blade), and Rushing Cleats to increase FoB slide distance (or Boots of the Fencing Master for even more defense)

Recommended Equipment: Bracers of Brachiation+Flying Hook (for Spiderman feel) or ki weapon wrist razors, Dragonshard of the Mage, Ring of the Dragonborn Emperor,


DPR

With +4 Accurate Dagger, Paragon Dragonshard of the Mage, Ki Weapon Wrist Razors, and Ring of the Dragonborn Emperor
to hit: +22, or +24 with CA (and you always should have CA with this build), versus 28 reflex = 75% to 85% hit rate.
Five Storms Damage: 1d8+19
FoB Damage (3 targets): 8 damage
At will DPR with 85% hit rate = 20.85 damage per target and +8 damage to three targets
As Five Storms is a party friendly 3x3, 28.85 dpr (assuming at least one hit) is equivalent to a single target DPR of 41.83 DPR.  This slightly exceeds intended striker DPR of 38.

In my experience in LFR, this estimate is actually quite a bit under what the build actually does in real play.  The 1.45 multiplier for party friendly 3x3 area attacks assumes that you have no mechanism to move creatures around into the burst on the following turn, and Center Breath monks DO have this sort of mechanism through Starblade Flurry.  Especially if they use the "Play Stupid" strategy, this build will typically be targeting significantly more than 1.45 creatures per turn.          

Defenses

AC 36 versus 21 to hit, means the build will be hit  on a 15 or higher WITHOUT any of the builds many situational modifiers or defensive stances.  With those conditional modifiers (e.g., +4 equivalent AC if and the enemy grants CA) taken into account, only 19 or 20s should hit. Once one of the two defenses stances kick in, you will only be hit on a 20, and these won't be criticals.  

Fortitude 29 versus 19 to hit, means the build will be hit on a 10 or higher without any of the builds many situational modiers or defensive stances (which provide up to another +4 to fort defense).  This is the build's worst defense.

With that said, higher level creatures, elites and solos will still be able to hit this character's best defenses, but they will still need to roll well to very well do it.    Even then, Iron Dragon Defense will reduce most of the damage off the first hit.   

I made a similar barbartian, mc centered breath monk, ghostwalker with deadly draw a while ago.  It is a very effective item independent combination.
I made a similar barbartian, mc centered breath monk, ghostwalker with deadly draw a while ago.  It is a very effective item independent combination.



I saw that.  It was creative to combine Ghostwalker with a barbarian. 

This current buildis just trying to show a relatively refined version of this fun concept for monks. 
I made a similar barbartian, mc centered breath monk, ghostwalker with deadly draw a while ago.  It is a very effective item independent combination.



I saw that.  It was creative to combine Ghostwalker with a barbarian. 

This current build isn't trying to break a lot of new ground, just show a relatively refined version of this fun concept for monks. 

I am currently playing a mid-paragon version of this build, and it most definitely does what it advertises.  My DM actually asked me to tone the defensiveness down a little, because trying to balance encounters to be challenging for the group was requiring special focus on debilitating my monk or circumventing his ridiculous defenses.

I obliged, for the sake of enjoyment, by dropping a few defensive feats for utilities, and changing my superior implement proficiency to iron ki focus with a ki dagger offhand.  Ended up with stealth training and persistent tail, for those instances that you dont need to move (such as keeping artillery locked down).  Its very handy to be able to follow them on their turn.
Like the build!   It's almost exactly what I'm playing.  However my DM is happy for me to have a staff in one hand and a dagger in the other (the CB allows this) so I'm going with a Staff of Ruin and - when I can find one - a Rhythm Dagger.  I am only 5th level so far but loving how he is working out.

Cheers
Blakey
Have you considered using a Mountain Ki Focus instead of an Accurate dagger? This would trade +1 attack for extra forced movement and +1 AC and reflex (assuming you have a Rhythm Blade dagger). Granted, lowering attack also risks not getting the shield bonus, but considering many of the powers are burst/blast, the likelihood of hitting at least once per round is pretty good.

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Have you considered using a Mountain Ki Focus instead of an Accurate dagger? This would trade +1 attack for extra forced movement and +1 AC and reflex (assuming you have a Rhythm Blade dagger). Granted, lowering attack also risks not getting the shield bonus, but considering many of the powers are burst/blast, the likelihood of hitting at least once per round is pretty good.



My feelings on the issue are as follows:

This build is about balacing your capabilities as a striker with your defensiveness.  If you're gimping your ability to do your job, your defenses eventually start to become a moot point.  If I were going to lose the +1 hit from the accurate dagger, I would fill the gap with an iron ki focus for the deadly/forceful properties, affording you the same control as the mountain ki focus and similar damage to the accurate dagger. Keep in mind that the chessmaster feel of a centered breath monk affords you the ability to get yourself out of dangerous situations in which you might need the shield bonus from mountain, as well.

As an aside, being nigh-impossible to hit, let alone kill, sucks some of the risky fun out of being a melee burst/blaster to me, but some people dig it. 

Superior implement proficiencies for this build should just be a matter of preference, as they all provide very functional and potentially flavorfol (aside from accurate) bonuses.
Have you considered using a Mountain Ki Focus instead of an Accurate dagger? This would trade +1 attack for extra forced movement and +1 AC and reflex (assuming you have a Rhythm Blade dagger). Granted, lowering attack also risks not getting the shield bonus, but considering many of the powers are burst/blast, the likelihood of hitting at least once per round is pretty good.



Most of the forced movement of the build comes from FoB, which lacks all keywords and it isn't clear whether FoB is an attack power.  You would need FoB to be an implement power and be an attack power for Mountain Ki Focus's forceful property to affect FoB.   Therefore, Mountain Ki Focus doesn't modify the slide on FoB.  Other than that, Mountain Ki Focus is just a +1 shielding bonus, and you get that by attacking with a shielding blade.  If you want to use a ki focus, you could use an accurate ki focus  on a shielding blade or while hold a shielding blade.  That would raise ac by 1 without lowering attack.  I will modify the build as a result, as it really doesn't matter for the build whether I'm using a +4 Ki Focus or +4 Dagger. 

I didn't do this in the original build because later on I was wanting to take Nimble Blade, which would require you to attack with a dagger. If you're allowed to use ki focused weapons as implements, then this isn't an issue, but I was trying to avoid anything with rules ambigiouty.


My feelings on the issue are as follows:

This build is about balacing your capabilities as a striker with your defensiveness.  If you're gimping your ability to do your job, your defenses eventually start to become a moot point.  If I were going to lose the +1 hit from the accurate dagger, I would fill the gap with an iron ki focus for the deadly/forceful properties, affording you the same control as the mountain ki focus and similar damage to the accurate dagger. Keep in mind that the chessmaster feel of a centered breath monk affords you the ability to get yourself out of dangerous situations in which you might need the shield bonus from mountain, as well.

As an aside, being nigh-impossible to hit, let alone kill, sucks some of the risky fun out of being a melee burst/blaster to me, but some people dig it. 

Superior implement proficiencies for this build should just be a matter of preference, as they all provide very functional and potentially flavorfol (aside from accurate) bonuses.



I agree with some of your overall feelings.  However, monks don't play like other strikers, as no other striker is at its best when it's surrounded.  When you are surrounded by multiple higher level enemies, and/or elites, defenses matter.  While playing this build at level 10, I went from 100% health to dying, while stunned (save ends), while immobilized (save ends) while slowed (save ends) in just over one round.  I think I also had ongoing damage as well, but I'm not 100% on that one.  I did save the rest of the party this way by getting the caster to drop a sustainable immobilize damaging cloud, but it hurt.  This build can and does get hit because it frequently takes as many or more attacks than a defender would.   

Accurate implements increase your damage more than a deadly property does.  The forceful property, as previous stated, doesn't affect FoB.   
Have you considered using a Mountain Ki Focus instead of an Accurate dagger? This would trade +1 attack for extra forced movement and +1 AC and reflex (assuming you have a Rhythm Blade dagger). Granted, lowering attack also risks not getting the shield bonus, but considering many of the powers are burst/blast, the likelihood of hitting at least once per round is pretty good.



Most of the forced movement of the build comes from FoB, which lacks all keywords and it isn't clear whether FoB is an attack power.  You would need FoB to be an implement power and be an attack power for Mountain Ki Focus's forceful property to affect FoB.   Therefore, Mountain Ki Focus doesn't modify the slide on FoB.  Other than that, Mountain Ki Focus is just a +1 shielding bonus, and you get that by attacking with a shielding blade.  If you want to use a ki focus, you could use an accurate ki focus  on a shielding blade or while hold a shielding blade.  That would raise ac by 1 without lowering attack.  I will modify the build as a result, as it really doesn't matter for the build whether I'm using a +4 Ki Focus or +4 Dagger. 

I didn't do this in the original build because later on I was wanting to take Nimble Blade, which would require you to attack with a dagger. If you're allowed to use ki focused weapons as implements, then this isn't an issue, but I was trying to avoid anything with rules ambigiouty.


My feelings on the issue are as follows:

This build is about balacing your capabilities as a striker with your defensiveness.  If you're gimping your ability to do your job, your defenses eventually start to become a moot point.  If I were going to lose the +1 hit from the accurate dagger, I would fill the gap with an iron ki focus for the deadly/forceful properties, affording you the same control as the mountain ki focus and similar damage to the accurate dagger. Keep in mind that the chessmaster feel of a centered breath monk affords you the ability to get yourself out of dangerous situations in which you might need the shield bonus from mountain, as well.

As an aside, being nigh-impossible to hit, let alone kill, sucks some of the risky fun out of being a melee burst/blaster to me, but some people dig it. 

Superior implement proficiencies for this build should just be a matter of preference, as they all provide very functional and potentially flavorfol (aside from accurate) bonuses.



I agree with some of your overall feelings.  However, monks don't play like other strikers, as no other striker is at its best when it's surrounded.  When you are surrounded by multiple higher level enemies, and/or elites, defenses matter.  While playing this build at level 10, I went from 100% health to dying, while stunned (save ends), while immobilized (save ends) while slowed (save ends) in just over one round.  I think I also had ongoing damage as well, but I'm not 100% on that one.  I did save the rest of the party this way by getting the caster to drop a sustainable immobilize damaging cloud, but it hurt.  This build can and does get hit because it frequently takes as many or more attacks than a defender would.   

Accurate implements increase your damage more than a deadly property does.  The forceful property, as previous stated, doesn't affect FoB.   

With the slide bonus interpretation (which probably by RAW is true, but feels iffy) those 2 ki focus options do lose a lot of ground.

I also have gotten myself into situations in which my monk has dropped in one round, maybe 2, but that doesn't detract from the points I made.  Playing something with a little risk and a lot of reward (CB monk with zone-damaging controllers) really kicks the fun factor up a notch for me, and just going unconcious once or twice isn't the end of the world.  When the DM is on fire, he's on fire, and no striker you play will be immune to high-teens rolling (though this certainly is more resistant to it).

Didn't want to derail this with a "I do it this way nah nah nah" post.  This build is freaking awesome, and I recommend anybody who is sick of AP nova-ing with a killswitch try out one of these in a zone-heavy party.  It can really challenge the way you approach tougher encounters.
Have you considered using a Mountain Ki Focus instead of an Accurate dagger? This would trade +1 attack for extra forced movement and +1 AC and reflex (assuming you have a Rhythm Blade dagger). Granted, lowering attack also risks not getting the shield bonus, but considering many of the powers are burst/blast, the likelihood of hitting at least once per round is pretty good.



Most of the forced movement of the build comes from FoB, which lacks all keywords and it isn't clear whether FoB is an attack power.  You would need FoB to be an implement power and be an attack power for Mountain Ki Focus's forceful property to affect FoB.   Therefore, Mountain Ki Focus doesn't modify the slide on FoB.  Other than that, Mountain Ki Focus is just a +1 shielding bonus, and you get that by attacking with a shielding blade.  If you want to use a ki focus, you could use an accurate ki focus  on a shielding blade or while hold a shielding blade.  That would raise ac by 1 without lowering attack.  I will modify the build as a result, as it really doesn't matter for the build whether I'm using a +4 Ki Focus or +4 Dagger. 

I didn't do this in the original build because later on I was wanting to take Nimble Blade, which would require you to attack with a dagger. If you're allowed to use ki focused weapons as implements, then this isn't an issue, but I was trying to avoid anything with rules ambigiouty.


With the slide bonus interpretation (which probably by RAW is true, but feels iffy) those 2 ki focus options do lose a lot of ground.
.



It may feel iffy, but the RAW is pretty clear. For forceful to affect FoB, you need two conditions to be met.

1) FoB needs to have the implement keyword, which it doesn't.
2) FoB needs to be an attack power, which you DM may legitimately rule it is based on the RC, but by RAW FoB currently isn't an attack.
 
If either condition isn't met, then forceful doesn't apply to FoB.  
Actually the RC is pretty clear. There are only Attack and Utility powers. Period. Here is a list of rules for unlabeled powers.

FoB has a target and damages or hinder an enemy: Attack Power.

No Implement keyword though.
Now that give me an idea for pervasive light feat. It ought to apply to flurry of blows.
Actually the RC is pretty clear. There are only Attack and Utility powers. Period. Here is a list of rules for unlabeled powers.

FoB has a target and damages or hinder an enemy: Attack Power.

No Implement keyword though.



I should have been more clear.

I cover this rules debate in my guide.

The RC is clear that powers like FoB and Divine Challenge should be attacks.  I've been holding out on FoB getting clarified/errated like Divine Challenge recently did.  However, it doesn't look like it is going to happen soon, so I probably should work on redoing the guide to better integrate the ruling.

A lot of people are gong to cry when Blurred Strike Ki Focus goes to red, as it no longer functions with the new rule.  
Now that give me an idea for pervasive light feat. It ought to apply to flurry of blows.



Seems as though FoB and Pervasive Light working in concert would just about remove the need for Radiant Fist, as Morninglord + Radiant Weapon would be strictly better, even if there were other sources of vuln.

That also makes me want to build a Chaladin|Monk/Morninglord changeling (or any dex/cha) and load up on sanction powers.  Not sure how playable it would be, but it sure would be neat.
Now that give me an idea for pervasive light feat. It ought to apply to flurry of blows.



Seems as though FoB and Pervasive Light working in concert would just about remove the need for Radiant Fist, as Morninglord + Radiant Weapon would be strictly better, even if there were other sources of vuln.

That also makes me want to build a Chaladin|Monk/Morninglord changeling (or any dex/cha) and load up on sanction powers.  Not sure how playable it would be, but it sure would be neat.



Actually FoB doesn't hit, as there is no attack roll, so Pervasive Light doesn't seem to work. 
I tried the monk mentioned here and use the online chracter builder since a dnd insider member. I am unable to get it to let me equip a parrying dagger in off hand and an accurate in the other... Any ideas?

I have the feats for it I believe.

Thanks!
I tried the monk mentioned here and use the online chracter builder since a dnd insider member. I am unable to get it to let me equip a parrying dagger in off hand and an accurate in the other... Any ideas?

I have the feats for it I believe.

Thanks!


It works in the online CB.  It just takes some fiddling around with it.

If memory serves, you need the equip the Parrying Dagger first. Then the accurate one.  The CB will shift the first weapon over.  However, it my be the other order.  It's still pretty early in the morning. 

Try every combo and no luck...
Tring to use a Gamblers Accurate Dagger and Parrying Dagger.

I have weapon profenciency Parrying Daggers and Superior Imp Training (Accurate Daggers) for feats...

Annoying :-(
Try every combo and no luck...
Tring to use a Gamblers Accurate Dagger and Parrying Dagger.

I have weapon profenciency Parrying Daggers and Superior Imp Training (Accurate Daggers) for feats...

Annoying :-(



I may have figured it out.  Empty both hands. Put the Parrying Dagger in the main hand.  Then put the accurate dagger in the main hand.  This moves the parrying dagger to the offhand. 

I just tried it and it is a lot easier now with the equip tab and the pull down menus.  

If that doesn't work, it might be a browser issue.  
A bit of an off-topic question, but could you Hybrid Monk|Rogue with Ghostwalker, Centered Fist FoB and Hybrid Talent: Cunning Sneak to have a monk disappearing in the center of a bunch of enemies? It'd have to move, but I think there might be a Ki Focus that lets you move and flurry at the same time...
THANKS it worked!
A bit of an off-topic question, but could you Hybrid Monk|Rogue with Ghostwalker, Centered Fist FoB and Hybrid Talent: Cunning Sneak to have a monk disappearing in the center of a bunch of enemies? It'd have to move, but I think there might be a Ki Focus that lets you move and flurry at the same time...



It would work, but monks are unlike any other striker. 

Invisibility and the hidden state is used by weak party members as a work around for having bad defenses.  However, monks don't need to have bad defenses.  In fact, they can pretty easily have the best defenses in the party.  As a result, monks want to encourage enemies to cluster around them and attack them, as they are frequently better able to take the attacks than even defenders and this increases their DPR due to how bursts work.  If monster don't attack the monk, they will wander off and attack easier targets.  This also will lower the monk's dpr as you will include fewer enemies in bursts if they wander off. 

In short, hiding with a potentially high defense class, encourages enemies to pick on weaker party members.  This lowers the survivability of the entire party.

THANKS it worked!



Glad I could help.
Furious Kender's points are true, with the caveat of course that what he mentions is the case.  If your party is a defensive powerhouse it could be an appealling option, as I'm sure it can be mixed with all sorts of things.  I was thnking along the same lines not too long ago.

Keep in mind 2 things:

1) The main benefit of being hidden is both an increase in defenses and gaining CA. Like Kender said Monks should have great defenses.  Also, while being hidden will allow you to SA, you get the same effect from being a Centered Breath monk and taking the feat that gives you CA whenever you slide an enemy.

2) Taking Cunning sneak keeps you from being able to take the Monks defensive hybrid option.
I built a prototype Level 12 disappearing sliding rogue|monk ghostwalker, and it looks like it'd be a lot of fun to play. Ludicrous defenses, and each turn I could swoop in another few enemies into my maelstrom of doom, with the flickering monk in the middle. As a bonus, in order to keep hidden I'd combine the slides from Five Storms and rushing cleats to shove all the enemies over 2 squares, then shift to follow. As a defender, that's pretty useful, sweeping the battlefield keeping the squishies safe. Holding a sling and taking Skipping Stone Flurry feat would let me pull aside enemies at a distance, too.

Also, you get FoB on monk powers without needing Hybrid Talent, so I can have flurry and cunning sneak together.

Any idea how to add a slow/prone/immobilize on flurry/five storms?

EDIT: MC Fighter, Hindering Shield. Now it's not just a blinking monk|rogue in the middle of a bunch of swirling enemies, they're slowed too.
Hidden melee combatants get to make OAs more often too.

EDIT: Hmm, just realized how off topic the following question was. I forgot I wasn't posting in the Monk handbook :D

Hmm, What one druid utility power would you take as a monk? I need to take one for my druid|monk but monk utilities are fairly awesome.

I'm thinking that Camoflage Cloak is one of the best, but it means no Centered Defense at level 6. I guess you could take Centered Defense at 10 instead of Iron Dragon Defense.

What's better out of Centered and Iron Dragon? Also what about Supreme Parry? Is it better than Centered Defense, even?
Don't you have to take Weapon Proficiency (Wrist Razors) if you want to use those Ki Focused Wrist Razors?
Don't you have to take Weapon Proficiency (Wrist Razors) if you want to use those Ki Focused Wrist Razors?



I'm confused because this build is built around attacking with daggers.  I don't think it even has a ki focus listed.  At any rate, the shielding wrist razors or ki weapon wrist razers are just for the passive magical properties.  I wasn't recommending actually attacking with them.  You basically just hold them. 
Got it. I'm a bit newb at D&D.

They were listed in your build, and listed in your DPR calculation, and when I tried to equip them in the CB they were red.

EDIT: NM I get it. I was mistaking Ki Focused for Ki Weapon. See earlier comment about newb.
Don't you have to take Weapon Proficiency (Wrist Razors) if you want to use those Ki Focused Wrist Razors?



I'm confused because this build is built around attacking with daggers.  I don't think it even has a ki focus listed.  At any rate, the shielding wrist razors or ki weapon wrist razers are just for the passive magical properties.  I wasn't recommending actually attacking with them.  You basically just hold them. 




What ki weapon wrist razors do you suggest? I've been wondering about these all day also.
sorry again but I do have a question as it turns out. So, I just wanted to clear this up, I enchant the wrist razors to be ki weapons. I don't need  to take a feat to use them as weapons but they enhance my FOB by+ 2 anyway an occupy my arm slots? The CB won't let it occupy arm slots though...

The CB is clearly wrong in this case.
Been wanting to ask you something else though, Do you have any suggestions for main hand dagger an armor enchantments? right now I'm Lvl 7 an use a shielding dagger main hand an bloodthread cloth armor. I know the bonuses of the blood thread don't stack with boots of the fencing master but I couldn't find anything that fit better an i'm almost unhittable when bloodied, also I took the mercenary theme because my DM thought Pack outcast was to broken on monks.
 
Don't forget to throw in the Yakuza theme - as your guide points out it effectively adds +2 to your defenses until you get hit, making this character nigh invulnerable except vs FORT.
Finalizing a monk of my own and had a few suggestions:

First, with no major changes in the build I would consider trading out Spinning Leopard Manuever (and keep Stunning Palm as your lvl 1 daily) for the new Level 5 daily Water Gives Way (in the Monk Basics article).  It is an interrupt that triggers wehn an enemy hits you, and on a hit slides them.  The defensive utility of this is pretty upfront, as you can manuever them so they can't hit you at all and do some off-turn damage as well.

Second, I would offer up consideration of Drow as the chosen race.  You trade the extra feat, at-will, and +1 to Fort and Ref but gain +2 to WIS, and the Cloud of Darkness racial utility - which is great for defense.  Also, the "Making Race Matter 2" article offers up a tasty Lvl 6 encounter utility for Drow - allowing them, when hit, to roll a stealth check against the attack if they have concealment to make it miss.  As a Centered Breath Ghost Walker, that's all the time!  In addition, being Drow opens up the Merciless Killer perk in Paragon (+5 to dmg rolls against bloodied enemies granting CA), which is just gravy for a striker!

The race change certainly isn't decisive, but I think Water Gives Way would be a great addition to the build.
Good suggestions Rich. I haven't updated this build for quite a while, but I will try to make time to it.

Drow are great cb mons. However, the cloud of darkness tends to make monsters wander off, which lowers dpr. This build is also reallly feat starved, which is another reason why I went human.

In play i've found stunning fist hard to use in paragon tier, as it breaks any stance you are already in and you've got a lot of nice stances. It is awesome at heroic tier, or in encounter with a lot of dazes and stuns.
Yes, the feat starvation is quite brutal.

Speaking of feats, I just wanted to add a few more paragon defensive (untyped) ones I found when purusing the CB that players may want to swap out for extra damage or accuracy if it is their highest priority.

Effortless Motion - +1 to AC UENT when you use an at will movement technique

Still Water - +2 to AC when you hit with an at-will when all of your encounter powers are expended.  This has the inherent issue of its wording, though, as it doesnt specifically state encounter attack powers - therefore by RAW you would also need to expend all encounter utilities as well unless you have a forgiving DM.

I have been scouring for information on building the perfect monk and consistantly end up reading and re-reading this handbook and No Paper Tigers.  I have tried to optimize as much as possible and finally decided that the following (though more item dependant, which I understand goes against the main post) may provide superior defence (and allowing a shielding + rhythm parrying dagger).  As a side note I am Shadar'Kai (yea...I regret making the choice and it is the only thing I cannot change as the DM has built the campaign around this but hey its ok)

1: Unarmored Expertise (+2 to AC)
2: MC Cleric (Healing word 1x a day, training in religion and holy symbol proficiency)
4: Holy Symbol Expertise (when attacking with holy symbol you cannot grant CA - far exceeds benifits of uncanny dodge)
6:  Superior Implement Training: Accurate Holy Symbol
8: Superior Will (+1 to will  and save on daze and stun at beginning of turn)
10: Parrying Dagger Proficiency 
11: Deadly Draw (Gives CA versus any enemies I slide using FoB, which enables PP features and other feats to function constantly)
12: Starblade Flurry (+1 FoB Target, which helps to pull more targets into burst range)
14: Improved NAD (+2 to all NAD's)
16: Defensive Advantage (+2 to AC versus enemies granting CA)

This is build requires the same amount of feats, but now you can literally get yourself surounded as long as you make some sort of attack with the holy sybmbol every turn and not only avoid giving the enemy +2 to hit, but also all negative bad things that can occure when a creature makes the attack.  Any input on this?  I am trying to make sure my character is as well put together as possible and that every feat is as absolutely optimized as possible.

EDIT: Sorry - also ment to give you HUGE kudos for this build.  It has really made my monk amazing and thoroughly enjoyable to play.
I have been scouring for information on building the perfect monk and consistantly end up reading and re-reading this handbook and No Paper Tigers.  I have tried to optimize as much as possible and finally decided that the following (though more item dependant, which I understand goes against the main post) may provide superior defence (and allowing a shielding + rhythm parrying dagger).  As a side note I am Shadar'Kai (yea...I regret making the choice and it is the only thing I cannot change as the DM has built the campaign around this but hey its ok)

1: Unarmored Expertise (+2 to AC)
2: MC Cleric (Healing word 1x a day, training in religion and holy symbol proficiency)
4: Holy Symbol Expertise (when attacking with holy symbol you cannot grant CA - far exceeds benifits of uncanny dodge)
6:  Superior Implement Training: Accurate Holy Symbol
8: Superior Will (+1 to will  and save on daze and stun at beginning of turn)
10: Parrying Dagger Proficiency 
11: Deadly Draw (Gives CA versus any enemies I slide using FoB, which enables PP features and other feats to function constantly)
12: Starblade Flurry (+1 FoB Target, which helps to pull more targets into burst range)
14: Improved NAD (+2 to all NAD's)
16: Defensive Advantage (+2 to AC versus enemies granting CA)

This is build requires the same amount of feats, but now you can literally get yourself surounded as long as you make some sort of attack with the holy sybmbol every turn and not only avoid giving the enemy +2 to hit, but also all negative bad things that can occure when a creature makes the attack.  Any input on this?  I am trying to make sure my character is as well put together as possible and that every feat is as absolutely optimized as possible.

EDIT: Sorry - also ment to give you HUGE kudos for this build.  It has really made my monk amazing and thoroughly enjoyable to play.



Yeah, my actual monk in play has this setup.  However, I worship a god that has a dagger as a holy symbol (Tymora?), so I can keep the dagger/weapliment support.   

However, by mid paragon, monsters stop attacking AC as much as they did in heroic.  I would drop some of the smaller AC boosts, say parrying dagger and shieldling blade, sometime around level 16 or so for more damage or whatnot.      

This is a build for my monk handbook.  I wanted this to be gear independent, so I pretty much only assumed basic gear.  However, my DPR calculations include a couple extra items just because everyone is used to seeing completely optimized DPR estimates. 

The Drunken Boxer: Centered Breath Master of Defense
This is a fun build that specializes in defense (to well above normal defender levels) so that it can fight while completely surrounded without a defender. This is very playable from level 1, and it has no weak levels. 

It also has a lot of control effects for a monk, with a lot of dazes, stuns and weakening.  Ghostwalker combined with Centered Breath CA manufacturing means that it has a lot of stealth capabilities as well.

Damage is in the normal ranges for a monk, which is lower than single-target strikers like a rogue or barbarian. But, after converting DPR for the AoE nature of the monk attacks, this build has intended striker DPR.  However, the build also has enough hard control that it can be very useful versus solos and the like even if it doesn't put out a ton of single target damage. 

This build is a good base for the "Spiderman" monk that uses a Flying Hook and Bracers of Brachiation to do a decent Spiderman impression. 

Build

Race: Human (for +1 to NADS, extra feat, extra at-will)
Background: Auspicious Birth (for dexterity to HP)
Monastic Tradition: Centered Breath (Sliding enemies synergizes well will many feats and with Ghostwalker)
Paragon Path: Ghostwalker (for concealment while CA and nice control powers)
Level: 16

Starting Abilities/Level 16 Abilities
Str: 10/11
Con: 11/12
Dex: 20/24
Int: 8/9
Wis: 14/18
Cha: 10/11

AC: 36 (+2 AC if enemy grants CA)
Fort: 29
Reflex: 34 
Will: 30
The build will also always have concealment and/or a defensive stance up, for an additional +2 to 4 (equivalent) to all defenses.  

HP: 111
Surges: 8

Feats
1: Versatile Expertise (to hit is essential)
1 (human): Unarmored Expertise (+2 to AC)
2: Superior Implement Training: Accurate Dagger (to hit is essential)
4: Weapon Profeciency: Parrying Dagger (+1 to AC)
6: Superior Will (+1 to will  and save on daze and stun at beginning of turn)
8: Improved Defenses (+2 to all NADs)
10: Deadly Draw (Gives CA versus any enemies I slide using FoB, which enables PP features and other feats to function constantly)
11: Starblade Flurry (+1 FoB Target, which helps to pull more targets into burst range)
12: Uncanny Dodge (Enemies don't get +2 to hit if you grant CA)
14: Defensive Advantage (+2 to AC versus enemies granting CA)
16: Implement Focus: Dagger (+2 damage)

At-Will Powers:
Five Storms, Steel Wind, and Crane's Wings

Encounter Powers:
Drunken Monkey, Eternal Mountain, Furious Bull

Utility Powers:
Swift Flight, Centered Defense, Iron Dragon Defense, Stance of the Still Sword

Daily Powers:
Spinning Leopard Maneuver, Stunning Palm, Mithral Tornado

Assumed Equipment: +4 Feyweave Cloth Armor, +4 Neck, +4 Accurate Dagger,
+1 Rhythm Blade Parrying Dagger (or Shielding Blade), and Rushing Cleats to increase FoB slide distance (or Boots of the Fencing Master for even more defense)

Recommended Equipment: Bracers of Brachiation+Flying Hook (for Spiderman feel) or ki weapon wrist razors, Dragonshard of the Mage, Ring of the Dragonborn Emperor,


DPR

With +4 Accurate Dagger, Paragon Dragonshard of the Mage, Ki Weapon Wrist Razors, and Ring of the Dragonborn Emperor
to hit: +22, or +24 with CA (and you always should have CA with this build), versus 28 reflex = 75% to 85% hit rate.
Five Storms Damage: 1d8+19
FoB Damage (3 targets): 8 damage
At will DPR with 85% hit rate = 20.85 damage per target and +8 damage to three targets
As Five Storms is a party friendly 3x3, 28.85 dpr (assuming at least one hit) is equivalent to a single target DPR of 41.83 DPR.  This slightly exceeds intended striker DPR of 38.

In my experience in LFR, this estimate is actually quite a bit under what the build actually does in real play.  The 1.45 multiplier for party friendly 3x3 area attacks assumes that you have no mechanism to move creatures around into the burst on the following turn, and Center Breath monks DO have this sort of mechanism through Starblade Flurry.  Especially if they use the "Play Stupid" strategy, this build will typically be targeting significantly more than 1.45 creatures per turn.          

Defenses

AC 36 versus 21 to hit, means the build will be hit  on a 15 or higher WITHOUT any of the builds many situational modifiers or defensive stances.  With those conditional modifiers (e.g., +4 equivalent AC if and the enemy grants CA) taken into account, only 19 or 20s should hit. Once one of the two defenses stances kick in, you will only be hit on a 20, and these won't be criticals.  

Fortitude 29 versus 19 to hit, means the build will be hit on a 10 or higher without any of the builds many situational modiers or defensive stances (which provide up to another +4 to fort defense).  This is the build's worst defense.

With that said, higher level creatures, elites and solos will still be able to hit this character's best defenses, but they will still need to roll well to very well do it.    Even then, Iron Dragon Defense will reduce most of the damage off the first hit.   


hi, do you happen to have the rest of the build details from lvl 17 up?