Hybrid Monk/Rogue character I'd like some comments on

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Hello,
  First off I know that a hybrid Monk/Rogue isn't optimal, but I've decide to do one for RP reasons.  I had also played one in a one off game and liked it quite a bit.

 Some info on the game, we're level 5, probably not going past mid paragon, and even that will take a long time to reach (only play every other week).  Magic is going to be an as we find it type of deal, so builds based on specific items are a no go.  Elves and half orcs are also not going to work in this campaign setting, which is a bummer since I would loved to have played an elf.  Also we aren't using redbox, or Hotfl.  Pretty much just the regular books.

The rest of the party is a Battlemind, runepriest, shaman, warlock and fighter.  So with me it'll be 6 players total with a lot of melee, and 2 defenders but maybe a bit light on healing.  No one is super optimized, but they are all competent players.

On to my build (no insider, so no character builder)

Human

Stats- starting allocation with bonus points for level 4 shown
Str 14 (15)
Int 10
Wis 10
Dex 20 (21)
Con 11 
Cha 8

I'm going stonefist, which is probably the thing I'm having the toughest time justifying.  I really like CBs shifting power, as I'm a big fan of soft control.  If I could play an elf it'd be a no brainer for me, but I figure that str synergizes pretty well with a couple of rogue builds and so have gone Stonefist.

Feats will probably be
Hybrid talent Rogue Tactics Ruthless Ruffian
Hybrid talent Monk Unarmored defense
Versatile Expertise
and either unarmored agility, crashing tempest style, or maybe even toughness

At wills will be;

Five Storms - pretty self explanatory
Disheartening Strike
Dragons tail or Heroic effort, but really I'm not 100% sold on any power for this slot and so am open for suggestions

Encounters will be;
Open the gates of battle
Low slash

Utilities;
undecided tbh, "Hop up" is probably the forerunner

Dailies;
Masterful spiral
Go for the eyes

The idea on the skills is that 5 storms obviously gives you excellent area damage, and that disheartening strike provides good single target damage along with the -2 to enemy attack rolls.  Go for the eyes is there for any nasty elites or solos.  Assuming it hits (big if and another reason to take Heroic effort), I should then be able to combine that with disheartening strikes to give the mob a -4 to hit and be unable to shift on turns that I hit it.  Not hard control, but fairly nasty soft control (admittedly on one target and with using a daily).  

Skills
Acrobatics
Athletics
Intimidate (for rattling attacks)
Thievery
stealth or perception -I like the idea of stealth, but perception is probably the best skill asides from arcana, flipside my wisdom is not good so....

Defenses at level 5 (no items)
AC 21 (assuming unarmored agility)
Ref 19
Fort 15
Will 14 (ouch) 

Hp 43
Surges 6

So we're talking a pretty fragile melee striker, especially compared to some of the monk builds floating around.  I'm not sure how it'll play.  However there are 2 defenders in the party, a shaman with his spirit companion, and the runepriest.  Depending on the encounter I can see the field getting pretty clogged thus taking away enemies ability to gang up on me, especially if there are multiple defender marks out.  The will def stinks, no doubt about it, one of the nice things about taking stonefist is that if I go for the full discipline talent I can add +1/2/3 onto my will defense, something to think about especially when (if) paragon rolls around.

Anyway let me know if people have some ideas for improvements, keeping in mind that specific magic items are not something I'll have access to, Hotfl isn't something we're using, and that I can't play an elf or Half orc.  Thanks for reading and if something isn't clear let me know.

-Chris 
I dunno if its a houserule for you, but you can't take the Hybrid Talent feat more than once.

I made a Monk|Rogue once, and I dunno how you're thinking, but I focused more on a Monk that threw out some Rogue stuff than anything else.

I liked the idea of clubs, but only for the Monk, I'd much rather have a club in 1 hand and a dagger in the other hand, I really don't like +2 weapons.
So I'd drop Ruthless Ruffian.

I'd go for Deft Strike, and you can easily stay at ranged throwing daggers with Sneak Attack damage if for some reason staying at ranged is far superior (or getting to melee is just impossible).

After Five Storms and Deft Strike, for a third At-Will I'd definatly pick up one of the D10 monk ones, since I'd imagine if you're stood next to 1 guy you want a monk power that'll do plenty of damage.
Thanks for the reply.  We are allowing multiple hybrid talents.  I had forgotten that it had been an issue.

However it has really become a moot point since in the first game with the established group I was 2 shotted.  Admittedly the character only has 44 HP at level 5, but he was critted for 22 points of damage followed by being hit for 23 points of damage.  I hadn't realized monsters could kick out that kind of damage at this level, but there you have it.

My question now for people is what I can do to make a better character.  The monsters we were facing were a downleveled slaver, a down leveled human knife fighter, some minions, and another humanoid monster (I think some sort of were rat, but it may have been reskinned).  The relevant data is that we are running a relativel low magic game.  The 5th level shaman in the party only has a a +1 implement for magic items, everyone else has at most 2 items, and I don't think there are any +2 items.  I just joined the game, but from the sounds of it, it is entirely possible that whatever character I play may not have magic armor until level 8 or 9, and not get a +2 weapon/implement til paragon.  Also keep in mind that the DM puts in what magic items he wants to.  We do not give him a list of stuff that it would be neat to find.

As for the monsters we were facing, the down leveled slaver was hitting with his at will attack for 3D8 +5 at a +11 attk bonus vs AC, he also had a recharge 4+ attack that hit for 4D8 +5 at a +9 attk bonus vs AC.  He also had an action point.  I dont' know exactly what the guy who critted me for 22 points of damage did, but I guess if he had combat advantage it was bad.  The down leveled human knife fighter seemed to be able to attack for D6 +5 damage, shift 4 squares and then make that same attack again.  I guess he also critted on 19+.  He could also shift again if he wanted to as a move action.  He also had an action point.  I don't have insider or any monster manual, so these stats are just from observation and what the DM told us.  This was also not a big bad boss encounter, but just a standard encounter as we travelled along.

Anyway the hybrid monk/rogue I was running only had a AC of 21.  This is actually the 2nd best in the party, but evidently wasn't nearly good enough.  I'm thinking now that running a melee striker is going to be suicide.  Running the numbers, the slaver guy could attack me for 3d8+5, and then action point for a 4d8 +5 attack.  Rolling average damage this would be 43.5 points of damage in one monster activation.  We do have defenders in the party (1 or 2 depending on who can make that session),  but the DM seems happy to risk defender marks to take out strikers.  I quite frankly don't see how I can stand up to that with a melee striker.

So at this point I'm thinking of a twin striking bow ranger.  Keep in mind that we can't use anything from essentials, magic items are going to be extremely limited, and that I can't play an elf, half orc, monster race, or shardmind/other "funky" race.  I'm thinking that a human ranger that twin strikes with a great bow should at least let me try and keep my distance.  I'll take as many shift away reaction powers as I can (since the DM is good with tactics and will most definitely come after me hard).  Past that I'm very much looking at toughness to at least try and keep myself from getting one shotted, and maybe bumping con up past what I normally would.  I like the idea of getting my defenses high enough to dodge some attacks, but I realistically don't see it happening.  Also without using essentials I don't think I can get access to the feat that ups all my defenses by 1 and scales with tier.

So what are peoples thoughts?  Any ideas on the ranger, is there a straight out monk build that could stand up to encounters like this?  Would another striker be more useful?

Oh and in case people missed it, the party is a battlemind, a 2h weapon fighter, a shaman, a runepriest, and a warlock.  However a lot of sessions we'll be missing one or two of these players.

Thanks for any help!

-a dead Monk/rogue hybrid


So what are peoples thoughts?  Any ideas on the ranger, is there a straight out monk build that could stand up to encounters like this?  Would another striker be more useful?

Oh and in case people missed it, the party is a battlemind, a 2h weapon fighter, a shaman, a runepriest, and a warlock.  However a lot of sessions we'll be missing one or two of these players.



From the sound of it, it seems like your DM is stacking the deck against you in multiple ways: extremely tough and damaging homebrew monsters, good tactics, and weakened PCs. 

Ranged Strikers would be one way to handle that, as that gives you a major AC boost.    Another way is to play something with good damage and brutal toughness, like a halfling Iron Soul monk|battlemind.  Take hybrid talent to get battlemind armor, and start with a 20 dex.  This will give you 22-24 AC, and a reroll to use if you get critted. 

Basically, from the sound of the campaign, I don't think your DM is experienced enough or wants to have a completely brutal game with a lot of character deaths and switching.  I expect you will have several TPK's in the near future. 
Thanks for the advice Furious_Kender, loved your monk guide btw.  I don't have the psionic book yet but I'll look at it.  Ironsoul from the sounds of it is pretty darn tough.

Part of my shock may have been that I haven't really played since the MM 3 upped monster damage significantly.  I got 3 squares out in front of the Battlemind (tho it was his activation next) and was savaged for it.  The DM definitely is no slouch at tactics too, hidden monsters with readied actions to charge if they could get combat advantage, being attacked by monsters even when they were marked, etc.  I don't mind a tough game, especially since I am the new guy to the group and don't want to rock the boat.  However I would also like to at least last a couple rounds.  

The DM suggested that next time I hang back behind the defenders.  This also leads me to believe that a ranged striker would be more beneficial. A monk sitting in the back of the group for the first couple rounds flinging daggers is a little too 2nd ed. first level wizardy for my liking.

Even with a ranger I expect to sort of poke around the back taking potshots at stuff, and use the rest of the party as a shield.  From what I've heard there have been several indoor encounters in the campaign so far.  What I'll do when we come to those, I'm not really sure.  One had a cage trap, wererats, and holes all through the walls of the building which allowed the wererats to shift into rat form, run through the walls to regenerate, and then run back in and pop into human form from a different flank.  It sounded pretty nasty, but I think with as many shift away powers as I can take with the ranger, I might be able to at least last a couple rounds.

Thanks again for the advice, I'll certainly pick up the psionics book.  One question, do I have to be a halfling if I decide to run an ironsoul monk, not sure if they're allowed in his campaign either.  Or rather will I significantly hurt the power of the ironsoul running a human?  We play next Thursday, I'll let you know how it goes.

-Chris 

Part of my shock may have been that I haven't really played since the MM 3 upped monster damage significantly.  I got 3 squares out in front of the Battlemind (tho it was his activation next) and was savaged for it.  The DM definitely is no slouch at tactics too, hidden monsters with readied actions to charge if they could get combat advantage, being attacked by monsters even when they were marked, etc.  I don't mind a tough game, especially since I am the new guy to the group and don't want to rock the boat.  However I would also like to at least last a couple rounds.  

The DM suggested that next time I hang back behind the defenders.  This also leads me to believe that a ranged striker would be more beneficial. A monk sitting in the back of the group for the first couple rounds flinging daggers is a little too 2nd ed. first level wizardy for my liking.

Even with a ranger I expect to sort of poke around the back taking potshots at stuff, and use the rest of the party as a shield.  From what I've heard there have been several indoor encounters in the campaign so far.  What I'll do when we come to those, I'm not really sure.  One had a cage trap, wererats, and holes all through the walls of the building which allowed the wererats to shift into rat form, run through the walls to regenerate, and then run back in and pop into human form from a different flank.  It sounded pretty nasty, but I think with as many shift away powers as I can take with the ranger, I might be able to at least last a couple rounds.

Thanks again for the advice, I'll certainly pick up the psionics book.  One question, do I have to be a halfling if I decide to run an ironsoul monk, not sure if they're allowed in his campaign either.  Or rather will I significantly hurt the power of the ironsoul running a human?  We play next Thursday, I'll let you know how it goes.

-Chris 



Halfling isn't necessary, but it is really helpful to a low magic defensive build in the heroic tier.  They just have a nice second chance power and Lost in the Crowd.  Both of these together make halfling monks extremely hard to kill.  Most defensive builds need some gear to get good, but monks don't require much gear to be effective and the monk|battlemind is pretty well gear independent.  With that said, ranged builds have great survivability advantages, if the front line can hold. 

One thing you need to remember is that the DMs dice will go hot some of the time.  No build can protect you from that.   In the party I was playing with tonight, the swordmage had great defenses, but the DM missed him less than 20% of the time and crit him something like 35% of the time.   However, the DM was mising my bard.....which is hard to do.