Flurry of Cheese - A Thri-Kreen Monk Story

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Upon reaching 11th level with my Thri-Kreen Monk, I realized that the Stone Fist Flurry of Blows can become much more than an attempt to strikerize a controller -- it can destroy a combat in horrible ways. Simply put, this build can deal up to 230 points of Flurry damage in a given turn.


The Basics
Level: 11
Class: Monk (Stone Fist Tradition)
Race: Thri-Kreen
Paragon Path: Mountain Devotee

Ability Scores
Strength: 20
Constitution: 11
Dexterity: 22
Intelligence: 11
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 9

Feats
Ki Focus Expertise
Unarmored Agility
Skipping Stone Flurry
Improved Defenses
Fluid Motion
Accurate Ki Focus
Starblade Flurry

Important Items
Blurred Strike Ki Focus
Ki Sling (Main Hand)
Prime Shot Shuriken (Off-hand)


Flurry Damage Breakdown


For the first Flurry of a round:


Target 1 (Enemy hit by triggering attack): 13 damage
     8 from base Flurry
     2 from Mountain Devotee
     2 from Ki Sling
     1 from Prime Shot Shuriken

Target 2 (Enemy within 10; see Skipping Stone Flurry): 16 damage
     12 from base Flurry
     2 from Mountain Devotee
     2 from Ki Sling

Target 3 (Enemy within 5; see Starblade Flurry): 16 damage

Total: 45 damage


For the second Flurry of a round:


This second Flurry is allowed by the Blurred Strike Ki Focus. It can be triggered by a second melee attack, but not by multiple target blasts or bursts. This is where being a Thri-Kreen is particularly useful: Thri-Kreen Claws, the racial encounter, is a minor action, 3 target melee attack. The attack bonus is low, but when you only need to hit one enemy, that's of little consequence. The 7th level Encounter "Fist of One Hundred Strikes" is also useful, as are Spinning Leopard Maneuver (level 1 Daily) and Crane Dance (level 9 Daily).
Unfortunately, the Ki Weapon does not add its damage here; it's only useful for the first Flurry in a round. Silly intelligent Wizard writers...

Target 1: 11 damage

Target 2: 14 damage

Target 3: 14 damage

Total: 39 damage



The 2nd level Daily Utility “Supreme Flurry” is an absolute must for this build.


Additional Buffs


The other reason that Mountain Devotee is useful here is its Action Point feature. By allowing you to add your Strength modifier to Flurry damage until the end of the turn, you can add 5 damage per target, which can add up, as we’ll see momentarily.


The 2nd level Daily Utility “Supreme Flurry” is an absolute must for this build. It allows you to shift your speed, then Flurry again.


Finally, the 5th level Daily “One Hundred Leaves” allows you to target one additional creature in range with each Flurry. Unfortunately, the extra target effectively needs to be adjacent to you, limiting this power’s usefulness.


The Final Countdown


I promised you 248 Flurry damage, right? So let’s add that up.


Free Action: Action Point
Standard Action: One Hundred Leaves
Flurry 1: 82 damage
     Target 1: 18 damage
     Target 2 (second adjacent enemy): 22 damage
     Target 3: 21 damage
     Target 4: 21 damage
Standard Action: Whatever attack you feel like
Flurry 2: 74 damage
Minor Action: Supreme Flurry
Flurry 3: 74 damage

Total: 230 damage


Closing Remarks


What really gives this build a special place in my heart is its utility. Sure, there are plenty of ways to cheese out a character in one particular fashion while leaving it lacking in others. But all that this one truly requires is a Paragon path, two powers, two feats, and three items. And, thanks to monks' versatility, you're left with a perfectly functional character, even ignoring the Flurrying. Further feats, such as Dazing Fist, can further add to your control, while your defenses are strong enough to ease the load on the party's defender. All in all, this build (and the beloved T'Chat'ch'ki, its progenitor) is a fun way to recreationally piss off your local DM while having a great time with the party.
Is chance to hit factored into this?
It's a nice combo, but it's far, far from broken. And that's a good thing.
Yeah, Rangers are going to make you cry, but I AM impressed that monks can actually manage some sort of nova.
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So you're just barely managing to bloody people on a daily nova? I'm... somewhat underimpressed.


I eagerly await your vastly superior entry to the Monk category.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I doubt anyone's objecting to this "entry to the Monk category" as a good solid example of what the Monk is capable of doing.

The objections tend to center around the notion that this is "cheese".  It isn't - this is what Monks do.  They spread around damage to multiple targets and annoy the DM in the process via mobility and flexibility. 

Folks object to the term "cheese" because we know what other Strikers are capable of during their paragon tier Novas.  And by that I mean Elites/Solos die. 

Finally, OP: if you're focusing purely on flurry damage it's hard to ignore Crashing Tempest Style.  It's a direct DPS boost over Skipping Stone Flurry, albeit with more limited targetting options.  You may find the ability to include an extra ranged target desireable, but it does limit your spreadsheet numbers a bit. 

It's a good monk. 
I doubt anyone's objecting to this "entry to the Monk category" as a good solid example of what the Monk is capable of doing.

The objections tend to center around the notion that this is "cheese".  It isn't - this is what Monks do.  They spread around damage to multiple targets and annoy the DM in the process via mobility and flexibility. 

Folks object to the term "cheese" because we know what other Strikers are capable of during their paragon tier Novas.  And by that I mean Elites/Solos die. 

Finally, OP: if you're focusing purely on flurry damage it's hard to ignore Crashing Tempest Style.  It's a direct DPS boost over Skipping Stone Flurry, albeit with more limited targetting options.  You may find the ability to include an extra ranged target desireable, but it does limit your spreadsheet numbers a bit. 

It's a good monk. 



QFT

Might as well take Four-Armed Flurry, no? Given the focus of your build, I'd probably take that over Fluid Motion.
Flailing Claws might also be good for this build, though you'd probably be taking that at a higher level. I wouldn't take it over Four-Armed Florry, but I might still take it over Fluid Motion.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Is chance to hit factored into this?


I didn't add any to-hit, because that's nearly impossible with a monk. Because most of their attacks include multiple targets (especially on a Flurry-focused build), determining the chance of hitting two targets without establishing the number and positioning of the enemies is not really an effective tact for this medium.

So you're just barely managing to bloody people on a daily nova? I'm... somewhat underimpressed.


The purpose of this build isn't to compete with Rangers or Morninglords or Brutal Barrage Battleminds. It's simply to make the monkiest Monk possible. Attempting to out-nova a Ranger is a futile and unrewarding pasttime. In hindsight, placing emphasis on the maxed-out Flurry was a little silly, as the point is the 84 Flurry DPR and the flexibility of the Flurry's targets.


Finally, OP: if you're focusing purely on flurry damage it's hard to ignore Crashing Tempest Style.  It's a direct DPS boost over Skipping Stone Flurry, albeit with more limited targetting options.  You may find the ability to include an extra ranged target desireable, but it does limit your spreadsheet numbers a bit. 

It's a good monk. 


I have tried out Crashing Tempest, but I've found that it ultimately results in lower DPR because of its reliance on having two adjacent creatures. There are few occasions without one enemy within 10, one enemy within 5, and one enemy adjacent, while there are only a good handful with two enemies adjacent and one within five. That said, a Centered Breath Monk (especially one with Invoker support) could probably pull off Crashing Tempest remarkably well, as they have the forced movement to create such a favorable arrangement of foes.

Also, thanks!

Might as well take Four-Armed Flurry, no? Given the focus of your build, I'd probably take that over Fluid Motion.
Flailing Claws might also be good for this build, though you'd probably be taking that at a higher level. I wouldn't take it over Four-Armed Florry, but I might still take it over Fluid Motion.


Four-Armed Flurry will eventually make it in, but it's a lower priority. Because it only adds bonus damage to a single target, that generally means an extra 4 DPR. While that's nothing to scoff at, it can't compete with Fluid Motion, which can very feasably add an extra target or two to attacks like Spinning Leopard Maneuver, and in later levels, Dancer on the Sea of Battle and Torrent of Falling Knives. Fluid Motion also increases the Monk's ability to hit back line targets and to tie up ranged attackers on the first round.


Also, Flailing Claws is almost always a wasted feat. I play Thri-Kreen -- lots and lots of Thri-Kreen -- but I've only actually missed each target with Thri-Kreen Claws a handful of times. Generally, if you're using it properly, you're targeting two or three creatures. The odds of missing all of them are not quite large enough to warrant spending a feat.

Four-Armed Flurry will eventually make it in, but it's a lower priority. Because it only adds bonus damage to a single target, that generally means an extra 4 DPR. While that's nothing to scoff at, it can't compete with Fluid Motion, which can very feasably add an extra target or two to attacks like Spinning Leopard Maneuver, and in later levels, Dancer on the Sea of Battle and Torrent of Falling Knives. Fluid Motion also increases the Monk's ability to hit back line targets and to tie up ranged attackers on the first round.

Yeah, but it's not as important for Thri-Kreen as it might be for other Monks because Thri-Kreen are already a square of speed ahead. Diminishing returns, etc. It just seems to me that the presented purpose of this build was to make Flurry of Blows do a lot of damage, so it seems like you're ignoring something that would make you better at exactly what it is that you're trying to do.

Also, Flailing Claws is almost always a wasted feat. I play Thri-Kreen -- lots and lots of Thri-Kreen -- but I've only actually missed each target with Thri-Kreen Claws a handful of times. Generally, if you're using it properly, you're targeting two or three creatures. The odds of missing all of them are not quite large enough to warrant spending a feat.

I'd have to disagree. Especially for this build where the entire gimmik hinges on hitting with more than one attack in a round, relying on a power that's effectively at -2 to hit doesn't seem like a great idea even if you're targetting multiple targets. Plus, there will be plenty of situation where you won't be able to get more than one or two creature in range at a time. It may be true that I'm placing too much emphasis on an encounter racial power, but the way I understood, exactly part of the reason that you were using this race was because of how well their racial power lends itself to the build you're going for, so anything to help ensure that it hits seems like a good investment to me. Maybe not more than the feats that you have now, but eventually.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I've played a thri-kreen from 1st to 5th level.  A battlemind if it matters.  Thri-kreen claws has been used in every encounter against at least two targets and has never missed both.   While the math says it should miss both (or three) eventually, I second Flailing Claws as worthless.
How you use Sling three times per round? It is one-handed ranged weapon, so you need free hand to load it. Once you can do it and get shurikin as free action (tri-kreen), but how you do it for the second and third time?
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