The Thunder Monk: Centered Breath Burst Specialist

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I see the build as a fairly normal optimized elven monk until level 16, when the monk's ki finely becomes unlocked.  This changes the normal optimized monk into a ki master whose thundering bellows rock the entire battlefield. 

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. 

Thunder Monk: Centered Breath Burst Specialist
This is a fun build that has extremely good damage (at 16) and decent defenses (only a little above normal defender levels) so that it can fight while completely surrounded without a defender for short time. This is very playable from level 1, and it has no weak levels.   

Damage is normal for a monk until level 16, where the dpr goes well above normal ranges for a monk.  Even at 16 the build puts out lower single-target damage than single-target strikers like a rogue or barbarian. But, after converting DPR for the AoE nature of the monk attacks, this build has extremely good striker DPR. 



Build

Race: Elf (For speed and shifting prowess)
Background: Auspicious Birth (for dexterity to HP)
Monastic Tradition: Centered Breath (Sliding enemies synergizes well will many feats and with bursts in general)
Paragon Path: Malec-Keth Janissary (to add thunder to all powers and extra damage)
Level: 16

FINAL ABILITY SCORES


STR 11, CON 12, DEX 24, INT 13, WIS 19, CHA 9


 STARTING ABILITY SCORES


STR 10, CON 11, DEX 18, INT 12, WIS 13, CHA 8


 


AC: 35 (+2 to enemy grants CA)


Fort: 28


Ref: 32


Will: 29


HP: 111 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 27


 


TRAINED SKILLS


Acrobatics +20, Arcana +14, Athletics +13, Perception +19, Stealth +20, Thievery +20


 


 


POWERS


Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack


Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack


Elf Racial Power: Elven Accuracy


Monk Feature: Centered Flurry of Blows


Monk Attack 1: Five Storms


Monk Attack 1: Crane's Wings


Monk Attack 1: Drunken Monkey


Monk Attack 1: Masterful Spiral


Monk Utility 2: Swift Flight


Monk Attack 3: Eternal Mountain


Monk Utility 6: Centered Defense


Monk Attack 9: Twilight Touch


Monk Utility 10: Iron Dragon Defense


Malec-Keth Janissary Attack 11: Loyal Unto Death


Malec-Keth Janissary Utility 12: Ever-Present Escort


Monk Attack 13: Furious Bull


Monk Attack 15: Mithral Tornado


Monk Utility 16: Stance of the Still Sword


 


FEATS


Level 1: Unarmored Agility (+2 AC)


Level 2: Versatile Expertise (To hit is essential)


Level 4: Superior Implement Training (Accurate dagger) (To hit is essential)


Level 8: Deadly Draw (Virtuallyconstant CA)


Level 10: Improved Defenses (+2 to NADS)


Level 11: Starblade Flurry (+1 FoB targer)


Level 11: Blade Initiate (necessary for PP, and +3 to ac for one encounter)


Level 12: Defensive Advantage (+2 AC versus most enemies)


Level 16: Resounding Thunder (Increased size of all bursts and blasts)


Level 16: Coordinated Explosion (+1 to hit, virtually all the time)


 


ITEMS


Monk unarmed strike


Magic Accurate dagger +4 x1


Ki Weapon+1 x1
Magic Feyweave Armor +4 x1


Amulet of Protection +4 x1


Rushing Cleats (heroic tier) x1


Siberys Shard of the Mage (paragon tier)


Shielding Blade Wrist razors +1 x1


====== End ======



DPR

With +4 Accurate Dagger, Ki weapon+1, Paragon Dragonshard of the Mage, and Ring of the Dragonborn Emperor
to hit: +23, or +25 with CA (and you always should have CA with this build), versus 28 reflex = 80% to 90% hit rate.
Five Storms Damage: 1d8+1d4+17
FoB Damage (3 targets): 9+1d4 damage
At will DPR with 90% hit rate = 22.55 damage per target and +11.5 damage to three targets
As Five Storms is a party friendly 5x5, 34.05 dpr (assuming at least one hit) is equivalent to a single target DPR of 76.61 DPR.  This is double intended striker DPR of 38, and perfectly matches the broken striker DPR of 76 dpr.    

Defenses

AC 35 versus 21 to hit, means the build will be hit on a 14 or higher WITHOUT any of the build’s situational modifiers or defensive stances.  With those conditional modifiers (i.e,, +2 versus enemies granting CA) taken into account, only you need a 17 to hit.  Once one of the two defenses stances are activated, it will take a 19, and you can throw another +3 AC on top of that for an encounter. 

Fortitude 28 versus 19 to hit, means the build will be hit on a 9 or higher without any of the builds  defensive stances (which provide up to another +2 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.    


 


 

Interesting build. I like the concept but I'm confused by a couple things -

Are you giving up on your PP features Chant of War (because you don't use an aegis) and encounter power Loyal Unto Death (no Int investment) and daily Elemental Scourge (ditto)? 

The thunder aspect of the build doesn't come into the build until level 16. That's fine, but does it belong in the build title? None of the powers do thunder damage. Perhaps an implement that changes damage to thunder would be interesting thematically?

In any case I'm a fan of your Monk's handbook so don't take my quibbles too seriously.
Interesting build. I like the concept but I'm confused by a couple things -

Are you giving up on your PP features Chant of War (because you don't use an aegis) and encounter power Loyal Unto Death (no Int investment) and daily Elemental Scourge (ditto)? 

The thunder aspect of the build doesn't come into the build until level 16. That's fine, but does it belong in the build title? None of the powers do thunder damage. Perhaps an implement that changes damage to thunder would be interesting thematically?

In any case I'm a fan of your Monk's handbook so don't take my quibbles too seriously.


That is a valid point.

However, there are only 6 powers before level 15 that do thunder damage.  None of them are all that good for a Centered Breath monk, and all but 1 daily is a melee attack.  

I see the build as a fairly normal optimized elven monk until level 16, when the monk's ki finely becomes unlocked.  This changes the normal optimized monk into a ki master whose thundering bellows rock the entire battlefield. 

With that said, getting thunder damage on burst attacks for Resounding Thunder is hard to do.  2 pps can do it without race restrictions, and a paragon battlemind|monk can do it if they have a Force weapon.  Dragonborn can also do it at paragon, through a racial PP or the rod of the dragonborn. 

 
FoB Damage (3 targets): 7+1d4 damage

At will DPR with 90% hit rate = 22.55 damage per target and +11.5 damage to three targets
As Five Storms is a party friendly 5x5, 34.05 dpr (assuming at least one hit) is equivalent to a single target DPR of 76.61 DPR.  This is double intended striker DPR of 38, and perfectly matches the broken striker DPR of 76 dpr.



Shouldn't FoB deal 9.5 damage instead of 11.5? This would make Five Storms a friendly 5x5 for 32.05 DPR. The single-target equivalent DPR is 72.11.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that Centred Breath Flurry of Blows is a monk feature not an attack and thus doesn't get the extra 1d4 thunder from Primordial Blade.

Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
FoB Damage (3 targets): 7+1d4 damage

At will DPR with 90% hit rate = 22.55 damage per target and +11.5 damage to three targets
As Five Storms is a party friendly 5x5, 34.05 dpr (assuming at least one hit) is equivalent to a single target DPR of 76.61 DPR.  This is double intended striker DPR of 38, and perfectly matches the broken striker DPR of 76 dpr.



Shouldn't FoB deal 9.5 damage instead of 11.5? This would make Five Storms a friendly 5x5 for 32.05 DPR. The single-target equivalent DPR is 72.11.


Thanks for pointing that out.

I apparently added in a ki weapon without mentionning it in the later calculations.  I added in the weapon, and now the math matches everywhere. 



 

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that Centred Breath Flurry of Blows is a monk feature not an attack and thus doesn't get the extra 1d4 thunder from Primordial Blade.




The RC is clear that powers granted by class features are all either attacks or utility powers.  FoB has targets and does damage, so it's clearly an attack. 

FoB was errataed to a no action, apparently because it was eliminating all other free action attacks on that turn.  Otherwise, becoming a no acton would have had no noticable game effect.   The divine challenge class feature was also errataed to be a utility, because it was previously an attack due to its damage and therefore it satisfied its own maintenance clause.  Otherwise, changing divine challenge to a utility also would have no game effect.

I apparently added in a ki weapon without mentionning it in the later calculations.  I added in the weapon, and now the math matches everywhere.


You should also update (or use a ki weapon) with the drunken boxer build, to keep the DPR comparison fair.

Can't you get this with a Screaming Bow, and Resounding Thunder feat - so any monk who is proficient in a bow (e.g. all elves, or anyone taking a Weapon Prof feat, or Unseen Hand PP) ??

Or have I missed something?
Can't you get this with a Screaming Bow, and Resounding Thunder feat - so any monk who is proficient in a bow (e.g. all elves, or anyone taking a Weapon Prof feat, or Unseen Hand PP) ??

Or have I missed something?



Only real issue I see is that in only works for untyped damage, which would limit your power choices.

I'm currently 7th level and my only burst with typed damage is Masterful Spiral which is force - so Five Storms and Eternal Mountain would be boosted.  Seems like a good deal for 1 magical item and 1 feat, which you can get 5 levels earlier than this PPs feature kicks in - which doesn't even need you to take this PP leaving you free to take others more suitable.
Can't you get this with a Screaming Bow, and Resounding Thunder feat - so any monk who is proficient in a bow (e.g. all elves, or anyone taking a Weapon Prof feat, or Unseen Hand PP) ??

Or have I missed something?



Only real issue I see is that in only works for untyped damage, which would limit your power choices.




When I originally started the guide, I thought this worked.  It's been brought up several time on the Q/A forum, as the Screaming Weapon's wording is problematic.  Resounding Thunder requires the thunder keyword when you attack, as it enlarges the burst size.  However, the wording "When you use this weapon to hit an enemy with an attack power that doesn’t have a damage type, the attack deals thunder damage" suggests that the Screaming Weapon changes damage to thunder after you hit.  This means that it isn't a thunder power until its too late to interact with Resounding Thunder.


As always, your DM is the final word of these sorts of issues, but by RAW it doesn't seem to work. 

When I originally started the guide, I thought this worked.  It's been brought up several time on the Q/A forum, as the Screaming Weapon's wording is problematic.  Resounding Thunder requires the thunder keyword when you attack, as it enlarges the burst size.  However, the wording "When you use this weapon to hit an enemy with an attack power that doesn’t have a damage type, the attack deals thunder damage" suggests that the Screaming Weapon changes damage to thunder after you hit.  This means that it isn't a thunder power until its too late to interact with Resounding Thunder.

As always, your DM is the final word of these sorts of issues, but by RAW it doesn't seem to work. 



Ah, good point, well made.   Thanks for clarifying this.  It's a shame as this would be a neat boost - but perhaps there is a good reason it is worded this way as otherwise it's a serious bonus on an already excellent At-Will...

When I originally started the guide, I thought this worked.  It's been brought up several time on the Q/A forum, as the Screaming Weapon's wording is problematic.  Resounding Thunder requires the thunder keyword when you attack, as it enlarges the burst size.  However, the wording "When you use this weapon to hit an enemy with an attack power that doesn’t have a damage type, the attack deals thunder damage" suggests that the Screaming Weapon changes damage to thunder after you hit.  This means that it isn't a thunder power until its too late to interact with Resounding Thunder.

As always, your DM is the final word of these sorts of issues, but by RAW it doesn't seem to work. 



Ah, good point, well made.   Thanks for clarifying this.  It's a shame as this would be a neat boost - but perhaps there is a good reason it is worded this way as otherwise it's a serious bonus on an already excellent At-Will...



Yeah, I was disappointed too.
Hi, working on a Monk myself (below). Since we currently only have three characters in our group our DM has given us two extra stat points (included) and toughness (not included here) for free.

We have a Beastmaster Ranger and a Rune Cleric, I was given a Monk to play with. Our DM says he has treasure planned out to level 11 and so the build is only to 11, but we will advance further than 11. I have the one Cloth Armor so far but the rest is unknown. So this build relies not having weapons.

My vision is a Monk that goes fast does lots of damage and can be pretty well protected from damage. I am also the trap find/disarm but no other skills fall to me to.

I would appreciate any thoughts you might have.

First strike Monk

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Bhu, level 11
Githzerai, Monk, Storvakal
Build: Centered Breath Monk
Monastic Tradition Option: Centered Breath
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Mercenary
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 14, DEX 22, INT 11, WIS 21, CHA 9
 
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 13, DEX 17, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8
 
 
AC: 26 Fort: 20 Ref: 22 Will: 21
HP: 84 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 21
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +18, Endurance +12, Perception +17, Thievery +16
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +5, Athletics +7, Bluff +4, Diplomacy +4, Dungeoneering +10, Heal +10, History +5, Insight +10, Intimidate +6, Nature +10, Religion +5, Stealth +11, Streetwise +6
 
POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Mercenary Attack: Takedown Strike
Githzerai Racial Power: Iron Mind
Monk Feature: Centered Flurry of Blows
Monk Attack 1: Dancing Cobra
Monk Attack 1: Five Storms
Monk Attack 1: Open the Gate of Battle
Monk Attack 1: Masterful Spiral
Monk Utility 2: Supreme Flurry
Monk Attack 3: Eternal Mountain
Monk Attack 5: Supreme Avalanche Combination
Acrobatics Utility 6: Tumbling Dodge
Monk Attack 7: Arc of the Flashing Storm
Monk Attack 9: Finishing Move
Monk Utility 10: Iron Dragon Defense
Storvakal Attack 11: Probability Travel
 
FEATS
Level 1: Unarmored Agility
Level 2: Ki Focus Expertise
Level 4: Miryath's First Strike
Level 6: Improved Initiative
Level 8: Alertness
Level 10: Zuwoth's Enlightened Step
Level 11: Uncanny Dodge
 
ITEMS
Monk unarmed strike x1
Ki Focus x1
Adventurer's Kit
Bedroll
Flint and Steel
Sunrod
Grappling Hook
Hammer
Silk Rope (50 ft.)
Thieves' Tools
Lantern
Oil (1 pint)
Desert Clothing
Stanching Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing) +1 x1
====== End ======



Edit note: We are currently level 2.
Just a quick question as I'm relatively new to D&D, I noticed that there's no feat at lvl 6, and two feats at both lvl 11 and lvl16. How is that possible?

Also, the PP adds 1d4 extra thunder damage to the attacks, but does that give the attacks the thunder keyword needed for Resounding Thunder?
Just a quick question as I'm relatively new to D&D, I noticed that there's no feat at lvl 6, and two feats at both lvl 11 and lvl16. How is that possible?

The level 6 feat got retrained somewhere in Paragon tier. In the builder, the retraining was entered at level 16, but it could just as well happen at level 11.

Also, the PP adds 1d4 extra thunder damage to the attacks, but does that give the attacks the thunder keyword needed for Resounding Thunder?

Yes, it does.

I have a question. I'm planning on switching from my warlock to a monk, using this build, to fill the multi-target striker roll in my group (we still have a Blackguard for the single-target role), and I'm going back and forth with my DM over the wrist razors. Is there anything I could point to that shows that you can wield a dagger or other weapon in the offhand along with the wrist razors in the arms slot? He's reading it as that while they free up the offhand slot to hold items, they don't permit other weapons in the offhand. Or is it simply that the shielding wrist razors are in the arms, and something like the ki weapon is in the offhand, which doesn't need to be used to take advantage of its property?

Thanks in advance.
Doesn't the thunderfist Ki focus take care of thunder keyword on attacks
Thunderfist ki focus only applies to melee attacks and the build wants to focus on bursts/blasts, this is one of those examples by WotC of trying to correct their failures not by fixing items but by nerfing further products and punishing new classes over old ones. 
okay (I know this is a year after the last response thus unlikely to get a response soon if at all) but I've been reading your builds and taking a look through you guide, but that feature doesnt add the keyword thunder to the powers... so doesnt that mean that the power cant be boosted by resounding thunder feat? The feat states.

Resounding Thunder


Paragon Tier
Prerequisite: 11th level
Benefit: You can add 1 to the size of any blast or burst that has the thunder keyword.

However the lv 16 feature doesnt say add's keyword.

    Primordial Blade (16th level): Years of tireless study and exposure to the forces within the Elemental Chaos have honed your ability to control the elements. At the end of each short rest or extended rest, select one of the following damage types: cold, fire, thunder, or lightning. Your attacks deal 1d4 extra damage of the selected damage type until the end of your next rest.


If thats the case wouldnt multiclassing into Invoker be a better choice as its ability does infact say add's the thunder keyword.

  Thundering Prayer (16th level): When you use a close attack power, you can choose to deal extra thunder damage equal to one-half your Intelligence modifier, and you can push a target you hit 1 square. If you do so, the power gains the thunder keyword. 

Adding a damage type adds the keyword, its in the Rules Compendium on page 115 under Adding and Removing Damage Types.
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