Just For Fun: Monk (RAMPANT SPECULATION)

So, to contrast with my intensive consideration of all details D&DN, I've decided to dream up a potential D&DN Monk. The best part is, I'll be making it up as I type.

No armor or shield proficiencies. Most abilities would be hampered by armor, nothing would work at all with a shield or medium or heavier armor.

DEX primary score. Class feature- "By a Hair's Breadth": Their agility and ability to dodge is so good, their AC is 10+DexMod when not in armor.

weapons: no new ground here.  traditional stuff.

CON's a good secondary score. Hit points for the armor-less melee person? Yes, please!

INT's a good third. Monks study anatomy carefully to enable their blows to be as effective as blades and blunt objects. A fighter can render an arm useless with an axe, but a monk can accomplish the same task with the right feather-light touch. A well-trained monk can negate your nerves, clamp your blood vessels, collapse your throat, poke your eyes out... kill all kinds of ways, AND (no offense to 4E) they don't need psionics to do it.

Oh, and you get to add your WisMod to your Initiative bonus. It's hard to surprise a monk.

What mechanic? One similar to Combat Superiority for the fighter. I imagine the Monk would be better at condition-imposing. Knocking opponents down, disorienting them, dealing small amounts of damage to many targets without magic, moving while attacking, etc. Different Monk traditions focus on different fighting styles, maybe even different worldviews.

Suggested Specialty: Ninja

Level 1- Your thrown weapon damage dice increase by 1 step
Level 3- You can attempt to Hide wherever you are, as a move action. (Ironically, if you succeed, it's because you stopped moving.)

Suggested Background: Monastic Student
Skills: Stealth, Natural Lore, Spot
Trait: Your monastic school can help you decipher cryptic messages, reason through difficult situations, etc. They will never tell you what to do- your path is your own- but will at least give you and your friends food and a place to stay for a night. 
"Our idea of rules modules has a wide range of scope; sometimes, our rules modules might just be small tweaks and variant rules, while other times they could be large-scale changes and entirely new subsystems. We want people to make the game their own, and that means provided a whole array of possibilities based on what you, the players, tell us that you want." -D&DNext Q&A Blog, 8/29/12, Answer #3.
I would say stick with Dex, Wis and Str for the monk. When I think of a monk I think of someone that's reaches out with their mind and let's instinct react to what any given humanoid could not. They are physically honed and pull off amazing acrobatic stunts. Which also brings me to the Suggested Background, try:
Acrobat
Skills: Climb, Jump and Stealth
Trait: Flexible- You are counted as one size smaller when attempting to fit into tight spaces.

I also see Monks being given Insight as a free trained skill.

Believe it or not I see Monk's features more akin to the Sorcerer than the fighter. A Ki Pool that can be expended to use maneuvers rather than a set of die. So what should the monk be able to do?

-Attack multiple times/enemies
-Redirect attacks
-Stun or Knock back enemies
-Run faster
-Shift around the battlefield

A monk, to me, is less Ninja and more Martial Artist. Less Naruto and More Kung-fu Panda. Less Ninja Assassin more Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon. Alright I'm done. 

Already I'm thinking of Maneuvers like: 

Flurry of Blows
Spend Ki to deal additional attacks at half-damage. Deal one additional attack for each Ki spent, max Level+2. These attacks can be used on any foe within range

Stunning Fist
When you hit a single foe with at least 3 attacks you may spend an additional Ki to Stun that foe a number of rounds equal to half the number of hits landed (rounded down).

Skirmish
Whenever you land an attack you may spend an additional Ki to move 5 spaces. You may do this in between each attack.

Dash
You may spend a single Ki to use your action to move your speed again. 

Snap Kick
One a round where you have not used your action to attack you may spend a single Ki to make an unarmed attack at half damage. You cannot use Flurry of Blows with Snap Kick.

Redirect
When a foe misses you with an attack as a reaction you may spend 2 Ki to instead direct that attack at a foe within range. You may spend an additional Ki to move him 5 feet but you may only do this once.

At Higher levels you could even have something like:
Counter
You take the impact dealt by a foe and give it right back.
When you are damaged by a foes attack you may, as a reaction, spend 6 Ki and a hit dice to make an unarmed attack against the foe. If the attack hits do not roll for damage, instead deal twice that damage dealt to you back to the foe.

I'd also like something that let's you dodge certain attacks for a higher Ki Cost. Like, if you had 3 ki at level 1 that renewed every round like the Fighter you could use it 1 at a time to deal more attacks, stun or skirmish, or you could hold it and spend all three to make an insight check in place of AC.

Just my 2 cents. 
Isn't ac already dex mod +10 when not wearing armor?
 
Isn't ac already dex mod +10 when not wearing armor?
 



I was gonna say...
I think a good starting point would be to answer the question: What makes the monk different from the fighter and the rogue?

* An unarmed fighting style (but not all monks are unarmed)
* Monastic training (with a seeming emphasis of meditation and various types of insights over pure combat training)
* Ki or psionics (but not all monk concepts have this, and not all that have 'ki' portray it as 'magical')

From those points it seems to me that step one is to determine what the last two points are all about, and then go from there.

Alternative 1: The not-overly-magical version. Ki might be life-force or will, but manipulation of it just means a greater ability to control your own body and understand the movements, mind and body of others.

This kind of monk class would to a large degree work similar to the fighter, but maybe have WIS based bonuses to AC and some kind of extra resource that symbolises the Ki. The Ki resource would allow them to tap into their reserves to perform over expectation. Perhaps they would be able to act twice, give themselves advantage, give others disadvantage or such, by spending a point of Ki.

Besides this they could use the Combat Superiority mechanic with a partially-overlapping-with-fighter set of abilities.
In fact, this monk could be constructed as a series of fighter Fighting Styles, allowing various types of Monk (Anything from the classical unarmed monk to the zen swordmaster).

Alternative 2: Ki is magic. This alternative basically turns the monk into a gish class. In this alternative, Ki could work as powerpoints that recharge at a short rest. They would have spell-like moves that consume different amounts of Ki. There could also be some interesting mechanic that grants them bonuses to Ki in some situations, and penalties in others, that would herd the monk towards a playstyle that fits with the fluff, rather than feeling like a spellcaster.

This second monk does not need to have anything with the CS mechanic to do, and fits as a separate class. It would probably be closest to the warlock in mechanics (a sorcerer like mechanic could also work but I think it would feel too much like a spellcaster).

I think the 3.x Monk felt more like Alt 1 and the 4e monk definitely felt more like Alt 2.

Personally I would probaby prefer the alternative 1, less magical Monk. Maybe allow the second as a lvl 10+ option.
Whenever I think of a monk, I visualise the pilot movie for the series Kung Fu. Calm, soft-spoken, able to walk rice paper without a tear, able to somehow ooze out of tight situations, and able to fight, armed or unarmed, with frightening precision. No armour, limited weapons (determined by the monk's temple aka deity). Trained reflexes (DEX), lots of philosophy (WIS), and able to withstand a lot of physical punishment (CON).

I do like the concept of using Ki points (like a mage would use spell points) for his special abilities.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

You need some features that make it feel Unique. Here are a couple of ideas, apply cool/appropriate names to the features

Unarmed Stike is 1d6 and counts as a Finesse Weapon

Add Str and Dex to damage when using Finesse Weapons (Hitting hard [Str] and in the right place [Dex])

Maybe give them an encounter ability that mimics the 4E action point. Action Points are bad when given to everyone, but I always thought it would make a great feature for a highly fluid and active class like the Monk.

I loved the 4E monk getting unique movement options, that would be something I would like to return. I always thought of a Monks movements as part of there action.

Also I liked the 4E monks sysnergy between movement and attack. While a fighter might move in order to attack, a monks movement is part of the attack.
Isn't ac already dex mod +10 when not wearing armor?
 



I was gonna say...



I must have missed that. [Looks it up.] Cool!
"Our idea of rules modules has a wide range of scope; sometimes, our rules modules might just be small tweaks and variant rules, while other times they could be large-scale changes and entirely new subsystems. We want people to make the game their own, and that means provided a whole array of possibilities based on what you, the players, tell us that you want." -D&DNext Q&A Blog, 8/29/12, Answer #3.
Unarmed Strike- A monk's unarmed strike deals 1d6+Str/Dex bludgeoning damage, which increases according to the class table as levels increase. It counts as a finesse weapon for prerequisite purposes.

Flurry of Blows- Instead of a traditional attack, a monk also has the option to make a single attack roll against every adjacent target. The damage on a hit at first level is 1, increasing according to the class table.

Ki points- Flavor-wise, these could represent moments of especially serious concentration and focus (non-magical monk), or moments of harnessing the mystical energy which powers the monk (magical monk). With some monks, it's hard to tell the difference. In any case, they deplete like a sorcerer's Will Points, but the effect is closer to the fighter's CS, with a list of possible maneuvers.

Armor Class: I was trying to think of a way to make the melee-based monk have a better AC than the rear-standing wizard, which makes sense to me, without having the monk resort to armor. I think having Light armor hamper, but not impede, monk abilities leaves the option open (especially for multiclassers), but a monk should not have to resort to that to stay alive. So, my new suggestion is: 10+DexMod+X

X can be 1 of 2 things: 1) WisMod; 2) A number on the class table. The more I think about it, the more #2 makes sense to me.

Monk abilities: DEX (for sure), WIS (not INT. I changed my mind.), and... okay, STR.

Also, Stealth as a free skill.
"Our idea of rules modules has a wide range of scope; sometimes, our rules modules might just be small tweaks and variant rules, while other times they could be large-scale changes and entirely new subsystems. We want people to make the game their own, and that means provided a whole array of possibilities based on what you, the players, tell us that you want." -D&DNext Q&A Blog, 8/29/12, Answer #3.
I never liked the upgrading unarmed attack from 3e. It's kinda dumb because it's at odds with both weapon using monks and makes the fighters look even more useless.

I suggest just making the unarmed attack good, like a d8 or something, then letting certain styles make use of various weapons in addition to it instead of weapons being phased out in favor of a 2d8 fist.
In my 3E campaigns I've strapped a variant of the incarnum rules onto the monk.  I think the way that essentia/"chi" points aren't spent and never go away, but rather flow constantly from place to place, is a perfect mechanical fit for the monk's approach to life and magic.

In DDN, the fighter's expertise dice accomplish broadly the same effect.  Maybe the monk should use that mechanic, but invest expertise dice into supernatural abilities instead of the fighter's combat maneuvers?
Here's another question, How often should the Monk be able to use special abilities?

Do we see it as At-Will as the Fighter, pulling off amazing Kung-Fu every Round

Or is it more of an encounter ability, being able to do a few crazy stunts between every short break

Or should the Monk be a viable force on his own and only has a limited amount of Daily Ki to channel into a deadly assault?. 
Here's another question, How often should the Monk be able to use special abilities?

Do we see it as At-Will as the Fighter, pulling off amazing Kung-Fu every Round

Or is it more of an encounter ability, being able to do a few crazy stunts between every short break

Or should the Monk be a viable force on his own and only has a limited amount of Daily Ki to channel into a deadly assault?. 



I think that every action the Monk takes should be impressive and above par. I like to imagine an encouter with the monk is like a fight scene from a good kung-fu flick. The hero is never stopping and always preferming stunts that apper superhuman and they do not stop until everyone else is on the ground.

Perhaps give them a few daily or encounter abilities to give them some big things to do every once in a while.
Apart from the combat abilities, shouldn't a monk have some sort of healing capability. Something like the remove affliction spell and done by simply touching a pressure point. Could be used to stabalize dying players too.