Can I Improve My Monk Anymore?

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Thank you guys for the help on my battlemind, unfortunately, he bit the dust. So now, I'm on to a striker.

We're mainly at lvl 6, but will kind of flash forward to lvl 11 for a little bit. I'm thinking a halfling monk, with a napolean complex. I'm trying to squeeze every bit of optimization out of it I can, since we have a part-time defender (note... not there all the time) and 2 healers.

Please check out this build, and offer any constructive criticism to help me improve. At first, I was thinking pixie, because it's weird, but teeny target opens my friends up to be hurt on a miss.

With that said, here's the build:

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Tobin, level 6
Halfling, Monk
Monastic Tradition Option: Desert Wind
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Firecrafter
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 12, DEX 20, INT 8, WIS 11, CHA 18
 
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 12, DEX 17, INT 8, WIS 11, CHA 15
 
 
AC: 23 Fort: 16 Ref: 20 Will: 19
HP: 57 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 14
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +18, Diplomacy +12, Stealth +13, Thievery +15
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +2, Athletics +3, Bluff +7, Dungeoneering +3, Endurance +4, Heal +3, History +2, Insight +3, Intimidate +7, Nature +3, Perception +3, Religion +2, Streetwise +7
 
POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Firecrafter Attack: Blazing Corona
Halfling Racial Power: Second Chance
Monk Feature: Desert Wind Flurry of Blows
Monk Attack 1: Blistering Flourish
Monk Attack 1: Five Storms
Monk Attack 1: Drunken Monkey
Monk Attack 1: Masterful Spiral
Monk Utility 2: Eye in the Sky
Monk Attack 3: Burning Brand
Monk Attack 5: Calm Before the Storm
Firecrafter Utility 6: Burning Bright
 
FEATS
Level 1: Unarmored Agility
Level 2: Lost in the Crowd
Level 4: Superior Implement Training (Accurate dagger)
Level 6: Light Blade Expertise
 
ITEMS
Monk unarmed strike
Goblin Accurate dagger +2 x1
Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier) x1
Bloodthread Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing) +1 x1
Acrobat Boots x1
Amulet of Protection +1 x1
====== End ======
If you are going to use a dagger, then look at incindiary dagger.  Gives a bonus to fire damage rolls and is +1 vs ref.  While it does not give a bonus vs ac, fort, or will, you will be attacking ref most of all.  Another thing to remember, you do not get the +cha damage from blistering flourish to five storms.  It is a close attack, not a melee attack.  However, you do get the bonus to FoB as it is a melee attack.  You might want to get internalize basic kata so you can have a decent MBA on opportunity attacks.
Also, Light Blade Expertise doesn't apply to any of your Monk attacks, as none of them are Weapon attacks. You're either going to have to take Versatile Expertise (Ki Focus/Light Blade) or ditch the idea of using Light Blades and stick with Ki Focuses, using Ki Focus Expertise. The first choice is very valid, especially considering your being a Halfling, but it depends on what exactly you're looking for.
Ki weapon +1 is a must for damage optimization. It's a low impact item that grants you a free +2 to FoB damage. I would also suggest an Iron ki focus for the +2 damage. As great as an acurate implement is, Take Ki expertise and you're getting the same benefit with bonus dmg to bloodied. You can also make it a Ki-Weapon club if you'de like, and pick up crashing tempest for yet another +2 to FOB. 

Additionally, consider Slashing Kama; it will allow you to have a free FOB's worth of damage on a target 45% of the time (assuming they aren't an mm3 solo or a warforged), and still procs your Blistering Flourish bonus damage. 

If you're not married to halfling, consider revenant teifling for Icy Clutch of Stygia (Cha/ Cha +5/ Cha +10 every time something saves from your ongoing,) as well as teifling fire feat support.  

An Incendiary Dagger implement is a great choice for a Desert Wind Monk, and I'd highly recommend that. Almost all of the Monk's fire-based attacks target Reflex, so you get the same accuracy boost that an Accurate Dagger gives, plus some extra damage on top.

Also, as DDS points out, Light Blade Expertise doesn't work for Monks, so if you're not using a Ki Focus you should pick up Versatile Expertise.

Ki Weapon is also a good off-hand choice, but it's not a priority at level 6. If you can pick up some new items during the "flash forward", you should grab one, though. 
Definitely go for the dagger or a Firewind Long/Bastard/Whateversword. Those are by far your two best choices. Your call on which one is better - I like the Firewind Blade, but then again I'm the guy who is pretty OK with taking Soaring Blade with a +1 CON mod to unlock an extra element so it's not for everybody.
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).
What I'm about to suggest is a house-rule: Ask your DM if he'll allow a Superior Implement (Heavy Blade) of some kind, like an Incendiary Longsword. It matters a lot for Swordmages, but also for you.

If he'll allow it, like I do, you can have a Firewind Incendiary Longsword.
Yeah, if you can do houserules, no contest, go Firewind Blade all the way. The only thing that's holding it back is that the implement rules are hilariously fail and lack superior implement weapons that aren't daggers (still waiting on my crossbows and heavy blades, wizards...).
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).
Yeah, if you can do houserules, no contest, go Firewind Blade all the way. The only thing that's holding it back is that the implement rules are hilariously fail and lack superior implement weapons that aren't daggers (still waiting on my crossbows and heavy blades, wizards...).



I've given up seeing those till perhaps 5.5E ;)
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Wow, great advice! Thank you so much... 

I'm not married to the idea of the halfing, as I usually play medium size races, but I was looking for a way to boost ac successfully, since there's a part time defender, and I wanted my AC as high as possible. Also, I was looking at the bonus damage for Goblin Totem.

House rules are pretty much out of the question. I have to take the feat.

Ah ha, so Light Blade Expertise has to go. Thanks! Follow up question though, can I get the goblin totem damage bonus, if I use a ki focus to attack, or should I just ditch the goblin totem all together? My understanding is that I get either the dagger bonus or ki focus damage... depending on which one I use to make the attack.

I absolutely plan on picking up the ki focus weapon in the next few levels... at 6 I didn't think it was all that important, as there were other items I wanted to survive.

Ditch goblin totem.  The extra little bit of damage is not really worth it when you can make it up else were easily.
Are you willing to Hybrid?
A Rogue/Monk doesn't loose much and allows you to do great damage to a single target (rogue) as well as multitarget (Monk). You can Hybrid Talent into monk's defensive boost and just have a little more versitility. I have never played a monk, but I would assume it would be very fustrating to have one solo monster and be doing damage in a close burst 1 only to hit one target.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Don't underestimate blistering flourish.  It is an at will that gets a damage bonus after you hit with it.  You hit, do damage, then get +cha to all melee attacks until end of next turn which includes the FoB this turn and your melee attack next turn.
Newsman,
Have you thought about a Hell-monk build? 

You focus on fire attacks and ongoing damage/save feats. 
When using Blistering Flourish your Flurry of Blows does 10 ongoing fire damage (6 ongoing if Blistering Flourish didn't hit over past two turns). If the enemy saves, he takes 4 cold damage (thus 14 minimum damage from Flurry of Blows). If he doesn't save then you gain 5 THP and he has to go through the same again next turn.

level 6
Revenant, Monk
Choose your Race in Life: Tiefling
Monastic Tradition Option: Desert Wind
Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 11, DEX 20, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 18

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 11, DEX 17, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 15

AC: 20 Fort: 14 Ref: 19 Will: 18
HP: 57 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 14

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Revenant Utility: Dark Reaping 
Monk Feature: Desert Wind Flurry of Blows 
Monk Attack 1: Blistering Flourish (Bread and Butter attack)
Monk Attack 1: Five Storms (To use when surrounded or have multiple targets)
Monk Attack 1: Light the Fire (fire attack)
Monk Attack 1: Risen Sun (fire attack)
Acrobatics Utility 2: Agile Recovery (Your only Minor: Monks have the best move actions so this utility is pretty much required so you don't waste your move action to stand)
Monk Attack 3: Burning Brand (fire attack)
Monk Attack 5: Salamander Charge (fire attack)
Monk Utility 6: Echoing Thunder (FoB rider)

FEATS
Level 1: Slashing Kama Style (Turns your FoB into ongoing damage. The Hell-Monk is built around this.)
Level 2: Icy Clutch of Stygia (Enemies who save out of ongoing take CHA damage)
Level 4: Beshaba's Boon (Gain 5 THP when enemies fail saving throw)
Level 6: Hellfire Blood (+1 attack and +1 damage to fire/fear attacks)


 
For those of you discussing a house-rule, it's actually totally unnecessary. Monks get "weapons with which they are proficient" as implements. All you need to get heavy blade enchants is a heavy blade. There are about a thousand low impact ways to do that, including the gritty sargeant background. 

if you're looking to get a fire-sword of some variety, that's how i'de do it. I still suggest that you instead get slashing kama and a ki-club though. By about level 10, you're going to have a FOB doing a huge ammount of damage. 

I also really suggest an iron ki-focus over a dagger. The ki-focus is more useful as an implement for you, as it will modify your basic attacks with unarmed strike, whereas a dagger implement will do terrifyingly bad, untyped damage. You can also get one of the three Fire-converting ki-focuses (Blazing Arc is the  most basic), which means you are no longer limited to powers with the fire keyword, as you just bolt the fire keyword onto every attack you make, even your BMAs. You do lose out on +1 to hit reflex, but you also can now pick powers that target fortitude without fear of attacking with reduced efficacy. (This is important because it means you can set up to attack different defenses, which is just always a good thing to have.)

Newsman,
Have you thought about a Hell-monk build? 

You focus on fire attacks and ongoing damage/save feats. 
When using Blistering Flourish your Flurry of Blows does 10 ongoing fire damage (6 ongoing if Blistering Flourish didn't hit over past two turns). If the enemy saves, he takes 4 cold damage (thus 14 minimum damage from Flurry of Blows). If he doesn't save then you gain 5 THP and he has to go through the same again next turn.

Show
level 6
Revenant, Monk
Choose your Race in Life: Tiefling
Monastic Tradition Option: Desert Wind
Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 11, DEX 20, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 18

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 11, DEX 17, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 15

AC: 20 Fort: 14 Ref: 19 Will: 18
HP: 57 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 14

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Revenant Utility: Dark Reaping 
Monk Feature: Desert Wind Flurry of Blows 
Monk Attack 1: Blistering Flourish (Bread and Butter attack)
Monk Attack 1: Five Storms (To use when surrounded or have multiple targets)
Monk Attack 1: Light the Fire (fire attack)
Monk Attack 1: Risen Sun (fire attack)
Acrobatics Utility 2: Agile Recovery (Your only Minor: Monks have the best move actions so this utility is pretty much required so you don't waste your move action to stand)
Monk Attack 3: Burning Brand (fire attack)
Monk Attack 5: Salamander Charge (fire attack)
Monk Utility 6: Echoing Thunder (FoB rider)

FEATS
Level 1: Slashing Kama Style (Turns your FoB into ongoing damage. The Hell-Monk is built around this.)
Level 2: Icy Clutch of Stygia (Enemies who save out of ongoing take CHA damage)
Level 4: Beshaba's Boon (Gain 5 THP when enemies fail saving throw)
Level 6: Hellfire Blood (+1 attack and +1 damage to fire/fear attacks)


^ This was essentailly what I was suggesting. I would take expertise over beshaba's boon, and a superior ki focus over hellfire blood, however. You can grab them both later on. I'de also suggest falling needle as your other at-will, just so you can get that extra shift going, which is just insanely useful for monks. 

Don't hybrid monk/rogue. You're going to gain nearly nothing by doing it, and then have to spend a feat to get your AC back to a reasonable level.
For those of you discussing a house-rule, it's actually totally unnecessary. Monks get "weapons with which they are proficient" as implements. All you need to get heavy blade enchants is a heavy blade. There are about a thousand low impact ways to do that, including the gritty sargeant background.

Heavy Blades do not come in Superior Implement, by RAW. The houserule being discussed is to make the dagger SI possibilities apply to Heavy Blades. +1 hit vs Ref and +2/3/4 to damage is kind of a big thing to miss out on.
For those of you discussing a house-rule, it's actually totally unnecessary. Monks get "weapons with which they are proficient" as implements. All you need to get heavy blade enchants is a heavy blade. There are about a thousand low impact ways to do that, including the gritty sargeant background.

Heavy Blades do not come in Superior Implement, by RAW. The houserule being discussed is to make the dagger SI possibilities apply to Heavy Blades. +1 hit vs Ref and +2/3/4 to damage is kind of a big thing to miss out on.



Very true. I actually just edited some more info into the post above as well, recommending that he neither use a dagger, nor a heavy blade as implement however. 

To be clear, Light Blades do not come in Superior Implement either, by RAW.  Daggers, specifically, do.  No others.

The list of things Monks have implement proficiency with that have superior implement versions are daggers, staffs, and ki focuses.  That's it.  And if you're making an implement attack with a ki focus, then you can't use any of the weapon-keyed feats or features.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
To be clear, Light Blades do not come in Superior Implement either, by RAW.  Daggers, specifically, do.  No others.

The list of things Monks have implement proficiency with that have superior implement versions are daggers, staffs, and ki focuses.  That's it.  And if you're making an implement attack with a ki focus, then you can't use any of the weapon-keyed feats or features.



Normally that doesn't really matter though, as most weapon specific feats apply to weapon attacks, of which the monk exactly one (MBA). I will admit I know of a few that can be abused for some advantages, but at level 6 you don't really have the featspace to waste on gimicky crap. Your Ki-focus also still works on your MBA and weapon attacks, it just doesn't keep the superior implement properties, which is true of any implement being used as a weapon. 

My weapons load-out for your character would be as follows:

Bazling Arc Iron Ki Focus of highest avilable ench bonus. 
+1 rhythm kama
+1 k-dagger/club. 

The reason I list the ki-dagger over the club is that, at lvl 11, you're going to want tog et starblade flurry, which lets your flurry hit another target, and at range. 
A ton of Monk damage support is in the various weapon-keyed feats and riders on powers, though.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Gotcha, ditch goblin totem weapon for the Blazing Arc Iron Ki Focus... will do.

Thanks for posting the build on the Hell Monk... but is there anyway to do that, without being revenant. My party doesn't exactly like undead things... and an undead tiefling running around with them, makes it a little, eh. Any other race that could pull that off?

I like the Hell monk build overall... and will definitely go that route.
Gotcha, ditch goblin totem weapon for the Blazing Arc Iron Ki Focus... will do.

Thanks for posting the build on the Hell Monk... but is there anyway to do that, without being revenant. My party doesn't exactly like undead things... and an undead tiefling running around with them, makes it a little, eh. Any other race that could pull that off?

I like the Hell monk build overall... and will definitely go that route.


As Revenants are technically reborn via the Raven Queen's (or underworld god X) power, it's not necessary to view them as "undead" in the traditional sense.  You could even treat them as a special kind of Deva, whose rebirth cycle has taken them down an unusual path.  While any CO will tell you that refluffing is your friend, it's particularly easy to do slight alterations to get around stuff like "lifeists" in your campaign (get it? Instead of racists?  See, it's...oh, nevermind).
Ha, lifeists! I love it. I'll ask our DM if I could just repurpose him a little bit.
You can still do Hell-monk as a Teifling, but it won't be optimized since you will be down 2 points in Dex. Pick up Ki Expertise sooner.

It will be playable and quite fun though (also Infernal Wrath > Dark Reaping).
...and you might like the Tielfing feat Diabolic Soul (it is not opt, but it it very cool flavorwise).
Drow also have the stats to make a desert wind monk work, and decent feat support.
Drow also have the stats to make a desert wind monk work, and decent feat support.



Yes and no. They have good feat support, just as a general rule, and they have the statline, but when you compare it with the revenant teifling and the revenant in general, it loses out in effectiveness. I'de argue that by comparison a drow would be a trap race.
 when you compare it with the revenant teifling and the revenant in general, it loses out in effectiveness. I'de argue that by comparison a drow would be a trap race.



Agreed.

Another direction to go is the "shifty" monk that can bounce around the battlefield like Yoda did in that suck movie (Clone wars?).


level 4
Halfling, Monk
Build: Iron Soul Monk
Monastic Tradition Option: Iron Soul

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 18, DEX 20, INT 10, WIS 13, CHA 8

AC: 20 Fort: 17 Ref: 18 Will: 14
HP: 47 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 11

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Halfling Racial Power: Second Chance
Monk Feature: Iron Soul Flurry of Blows
Monk Attack 1: Five Storms
Monk Attack 1: Lion's Den
Monk Attack 1: Open the Gate of Battle
Monk Attack 1: Masterful Spiral
Acrobatics Utility 2: Agile Recovery
Monk Attack 3: Undeniable Incitement

FEATS
Level 1: Mark of Passage
Level 2: Skittering Mouse Style
Level 4: Ki Focus Expertise

Pick up Unarmored Defense soon as well since this character is built to ignore enemy OAs, running through the front line to set up burst attacks, and then running back behind your defender.

Hmm... shifty monk sounds great. I like the halfling and high armor class. I guess maybe I want something that can put out some solid damage... and be hard to hit at the same time. That could be asking too much though.
An example build built for 6, Like you did in the OP:

 

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
level 6
Revenant, Monk
Monastic Tradition Option: Desert Wind
Choose your Race in Life: Tiefling
Scion of Blood (+2 to Stealth)
Theme: Devil's Pawn

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 13, DEX 19, INT 9, WIS 10, CHA 19

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 13, DEX 16, INT 9, WIS 10, CHA 16


AC: 23 Fort: 17 Ref: 20 Will: 20
HP: 50 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 12

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +12, Diplomacy +12, Endurance +11, Stealth +14

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +2, Athletics +3, Bluff +7, Dungeoneering +3, Heal +3, History +2, Insight +3, Intimidate +9, Nature +3, Perception +3, Religion +2, Streetwise +7, Thievery +7

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Devil's Pawn Attack: Hellfire and Brimstone
Revenant Utility: Dark Reaping
Monk Feature: Desert Wind Flurry of Blows
Monk Attack 1: Fallen Needle
Monk Attack 1: Blistering Flourish
Monk Attack 1: Drunken Monkey
Monk Attack 1: Masterful Spiral
Acrobatics Utility 2: Agile Recovery
Monk Attack 3: Burning Brand
Monk Attack 5: Water Gives Way
Monk Utility 6: Quicksilver Motion

FEATS
Level 1: Unarmored Agility
Level 2: Slashing Kama Style
Level 4: Icy Clutch of Stygia
Level 6: Hellfire Blood

ITEMS
Monk unarmed strike
Magic Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing) +2 x1
Blazing Arc Ki Focus +2 x1
Amulet of Protection +2 x1
Sickle x1
Ki Dagger +1 x1
====== End ======


The items, other than the ki-dagger and the blazing arc ki-focus are just placeholders for whatever item of level you want.  The goal here is to load up on fire damage, and to optimize for fire damage and ongoing. Any time you manage to thwack some one with your flurry here, they take 8 ongoing. If the make their save (55% chance), they then take another 4 cold. Fallen needle is basically just there for the minor action shift. 

You open up on every monster with blistering flourish, so when they get hit by your flurry, they take another 4. Hellfire blood is critical as it effects the damage rolls and to-hit of powers with the fire keyword. theoretically, you could get another point of AC, reflex, and to-hit by sacrificing 2 points in charisma, but that would drop your mod down to 3. That's entirely your call, but it will negatively effect your dps, as you will be losing the +1 dmg from your ongoing, your blistering flourish bonus dmg, and your stygia dmg, an average of about 2.5ish per round. 

You also could theoretically drop the ki-weapon and scythe, as well as slashing kama and stygia for staff fighting and hafted defense, and pick up a staff of ruin. This would boost your AC by two, but would deny you the recurring benefits of your ongoing.  

Thank you guys so much for the advice. I'm going to heed your wisdom and go with the revenant hell monk build. So question... for the paragon path. Do I take Initiate of the Dragon to get the resistance ignore? That seems the most logical. How about Turathi Highborn? It looks interesting too for bonus damage.

What types of feats should I be looking at. Hellfire blood looks promising, maybe a superior implement and weapon focus. Stablade Flurry is a given right for 11?
Superior Implement, and an Expertise feat are always great options.

You'll want to get Improved Defenses at some point in Paragon, and consider Superior Will along with Dispater's Iron Discipline.  For Tieflings, this is a great combination that will let you shake of dazed/stunned at the start of your turn. 

Secrets of Belial will let you poach a utility from another class, there are a number of amazing choices here that you can tailor to your play style.

For items, look for Boots of the Fencing Master since you can shift with trivial ease on pretty much any turn, so it's an easy +1 AC/Reflex.

Bargle wrote:
This is CharOp. We not only assume block-of-tofu monsters, but also block-of-tofu DMs.
 

Zelink wrote:
You're already refluffing, why not refluff to something that doesn't suck?
I built a monk based around ongoing damage from FOB, search for blondie. Also mentioned in that thread is another very nice defensive monk build (I think svenj made that one, could be wrong).
Feats
Secrets of Belial (UBERFEAT...it will require some research)
Starblade Flurry
Fiery Blood
Dispater's Iron Discipline

 
Paragon Path
Turathi Highborn 
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