Monk Feedback Redux

Recreated the thread as the OP could not be edited due to moderator edits.

First of all, I'd like to congratulate the design team on a mostly successful first shot at the Monk, particularly their excellent use and adaptation of my crude attempt based on the design conventions of the L1-5 packet.

Now onto the good, bad and ugly:

The Good: 


  • Tying the Monk into the expertise system. I'm liking this standardization. As an aside, I wish you'd separate class exclusive maneuvers on the maneuver list.

  • Most of the general parameters of the monk: proficiencies, attack bonus, hit dice, Wis bonus to AC.

  • Neat Monk exclusive maneuvers. Virtually all of them are interesting.


The Bad: 


  • Alignment restrictions. I'm sure some/most may disagree, but I dislike it. Strikes me as something that should be modular/optional.

  • Unarmed damage (1d6 is inadequate given it's their one and only weapon in practice; all others are situational niche options), 

  • Ki DC bonuses (should be higher; Wisdom is a secondary stat). 

  • Generic, bland and unremarkable implementation of Ki. Absolutely boring. 


The Ugly: 


  • Boring immunities.

  • Deflect arrows is inelegantly worded; the 'catch' effect of expending two dice is redundant and pointless.


Suggestions:
 
My Rendition: docs.google.com/document/d/1raDwKyHG1dg7...

Alignment Restrictions: 
Make these optional/modular.

Deflect Missiles: Condense/clarify wording. Allow for 'Deflections' at two invested dice; the monk has to wait far too long (10th level!) to do the single coolest thing with this maneuver, and the power of it doesn't justify such a delayed onset. Remove the redundant mention of 'catching' the projectile in the second paragraph.

Ki: Make this an encounter based resource that power Ki Disciplines (like more powerful Manuevers). Ki recovers at the end of a short rest, with the option to 'burn' expended Ki. Burned Ki are replenished at the end of a long rest. Ki might also be expended to grant additional expertise dice beyond normal limits.

Ki Bonuses: Increment these by +1 in recognition of the fact that Wis is a secondary ability of Monks (I assume you want to keep DCs consistent with Wizards/Warlocks).

Way of the Fist: Make unarmed damage a 1d8. Monks are stuck with their fists, and it's their de facto primary weapon. Rogues have access to 1d8 finesse weapons (katana). Fighters get to use 1d12 greatswords. It's only fair that the primary weapon of monks has a decent damage dice.

Immunities: Replace these with something more interesting, such as Ki Disciplines. 
Ossassin Fix 4e's Late Onset Pun Pun
You missed the part in Deflect Arrows where the single die version also lets you catch the projectile. The two die version isn't just almost pointless; it's completely pointless. Based on the wording, it's as if the developers addressed your concern but forgot to delete the second paragraph when they were done.
Good catch. Updated the OP to account for this.

In the future, some people will use two-weapon fighting, so it makes no sense to balance away from it either. 

Right now, the monk's fist fills a logical place in the weapon table. It's poor damage for a melee character, but it has logic. If the monk's fighting style was treated like a two-handed weapon, I could see bumping it to a d8 or even higher, but it isn't. The fact that the monk's fist deals poor damage speaks of a need to improve two-weapon fighting in general.



Sure, but again, it's important to keep in mind that the Monk is essentially locked into his fists with some niche exceptions, given all the features and elements currently based on them, and that will be based on them. I believe they deserve a premium in recognition of the fact.
That's the problem with the monk in general, isn't it? The monk is locked into his fists, the monk is locked into his armor, the monk is locked into his ability scores, the monk is just locked in general. There's a combat style for every fighter and a spell list for every wizard, but there is only one monk.

Well, two, counting SleepsInTraffic's iron-clad defender build.

Either way, bumping unarmed damage isn't going to make the monk any less locked into into his fists. Expanding the ki system would, and it could correct your damage issues at the same time. It's also the monk's most unique feature, and expanding it would make the monk something other than just an barehand fighter.

Making more ki makes the monk more monk-ey.

Show
SleepsInTraffic's Iron-Clad Defender (fleshed out by Fimbria)
Level 10 mountain dwarf monk
Final ability scores: Str 17, Dex 14, Con 12, Wis 18, Int 8, Cha 8
Original point-buy array: Str 15, Dex 14, Con 12, Wis 14, Int 8, Cha 8
Health: 80 HP (calculated average for rolled HP), 10d8 hit dice

Armor: Scale mail, AC 17 (16 when deprived of armor. Memo: seek dragon scale.)
Weapons: monk fists (+6, 1d6+3, magical, adamantine, cold iron, silver), longspear (+6, 1d10+3, two-handed, reach), and light crossbow (+5, 1d8+2)

Background: Soldier
Powers: DR 1 against bludgeon, pierce, and slash, advantage on saves against poison, resistance against poison damage, immune to disease, immune to fear, immune to charm, retrace steps when underground, roll HD twice and take the best when healing.

Skills: Listen +4, Balance +6, Know Dungeoneering +3, Heal +3, Intimidate +3, Know Warfare +3, Survival +4.

Feats: Toughness, Resilient, Durable, Iron Hide

Ki 3/day: stunning fist DC 17, heal 14

Maneuvers: Flurry of Blows, Step of the Wind, Iron Root Defense, Deadly Strike, Deflect Missiles
Exactly. He's locked to his fists, and uses them about exclusively. In general, he loses too much by opting to use something else, and doesn't have the freedom of choice for his weapon, in practice, that other classes do. He should be rewarded for that. Bumping unarmed damage does make him a little more competitive damage wise without threatening his uniqueness. I personally don't understand your aversion to a higher damage dice, unless you believe some future rendition of TWF will break the monk given that increment.

As for expansion of the Ki system, I've linked a specific proposal in the OP. 
My aversion is that people are supposed to become *more* scary when they dual-wield katanas.
Exactly. He's locked to his fists, and uses them about exclusively. In general, he loses too much by opting to use something else, and doesn't have the freedom of choice for his weapon, in practice, that other classes do. He should be rewarded for that. Bumping unarmed damage does make him a little more competitive damage wise without threatening his uniqueness. I personally don't understand your aversion to a higher damage dice, unless you believe some future rendition of TWF will break the monk given that increment.

As for expansion of the Ki system, I've linked a specific proposal in the OP. 

After looking over the monk's maneuvers and class features (again), I can only find three specific abilities that require the monk to use his/her 1d6 fists (1 maneuver, 1 Ki attack, and 1 static benifit).  The monk's FoB is, obviously, tied to unarmed attacks and the Stunning Strike Ki ability requires an unarmed attack as well.  Both of these attacks are mechanically and historically tied to the empty-handed techniques developed by monks.  Finally, the monk's Undaunted Strike allows the monk's unarmed attacks to ignore various types of resistances because, otherwise, the monk would face severe difficulties fighting some types of enemies, thus making unarmed attacks a situational concern as monks face increasingly difficult enemies.

Now, I DO think that the monk's choice of weapons are somewhat random/haphazzard and I hope that the developers decide to make a few changes in subsequent iterations, but, I cannot agree with your statement that monks are "locked" into using his/her fists "exclusively".

In comparision, the monks list of maneuvers (with the obvious exceptions of FoB and catching Deflected Missiles) seems to cater to the fact that monk characters might choose to wield weapons rather than use their fists (i.e. Deadly Strike, Whirlwind, Hurricane Strike).

Also, bumping up the unarmed damage of the monk's unarmed attacks would only have minimal effect because the majority of additional damage is drawn from the combat expertise dice, so really a bump from d6 to d8 would mean very little to the monk's overall damage output. 
@ Shodan_1: As a practical (not literal) matter, they're locked into fists when you consider the sheer power and unarmed exclusivity of FoB (I'd admitted to previously overlooking the _very_ salient fact that you can keep targeting the same enemy). FoB is substantially more powerful than Deadly Strike. As offensive actions go, it (and thus unarmed attacks) will definitely be the overwhelmingly common choice of most monks.

Second, I've little doubt that the future direction of the monk will make further exclusive use of unarmed attacks. 

Third, unarmed strikes work just fine with Whirlwind, Deadly Strike and Hurricane Strike (they count as finesse melee weapons for the monk). There are only three cases where you'd rather use a non-unarmed weapon for these maneuvers: when you're looking to exploit the reach of a Longspear, when you're trying to avoid bludgeoning resistance and/or you're looking to maximize the damage output of WW/Hurricane Strike with the Quarterstaff. That said, there's no point to using Deadly Strike as a rule, as FoB results in a higher DPR in the first place.


@ Fimbria: Impossibility of dual wielding katanas aside under the present rules, isn't the half the point of monks that their fists are equal to some of the deadliest melee weapons?
Some of them, yes. The problem with a d8 is that there are no more weapon dice above it. Every d10 and d12 on the weapon table is a two-hander. Eventually, someone will get the feats together to make the lightly armored florentine build, and when they do, they will look over at the monk and realize that it's pointless to try. The monk gets dual longswords as a finesse. Faced with that design, I would seriously consider taking a level of monk just for the superior weapon.

The monk fist is deadly, but it is still possible to make a more efficient killing machine.

Considering how good FoB is, I don't think that the monk needs higher unarmed damage at level 1-5. If, when a fighter gets an extra attack, a monk got a bump in unarmed damage I would not blink an eye. But, I would rather they got something else that helped them keep damage parity with the fighter. Personally, I don't really like the idea of bumping a monks unarmed damage beyond 1d6 either. I also think the monks Ki abilities are fine, and interesting, as is. But, that is just me. I also don't mind the lawful restriction. But whatever. 

@ Fimbria: What's to say that in the future (presumably when TWF is worth a damn), the person who specializes in TWF won't get  a return on investment that compares favourably even with the monk?

I agree frontloaded monk features without class level restrictions could be a problem, but as I recall, the design team intends to address the issue of dipping.


@ Cyberdave: I actually agree that scaling unarmed damage with level might be a good idea. Though Mearls claims unarmed damage scales naturally with FoB's bonus damage, this has _nothing_ on the extra attack fighters get at L6; I don't think situational immunities, which again are boring, quite compensate for this difference. I'd be fine with incremented unarmed damage dice and/or additional interesting features (like my proposed Ki Disciplines linked in the OP).
@ Fimbria: What's to say that in the future (presumably when TWF is worth a damn), the person who specializes in TWF won't get  a return on investment that compares favourably even with the monk?

I agree frontloaded monk features without class level restrictions could be a problem, but as I recall, the design team intends to address the issue of dipping.


@ Cyberdave: I actually agree that scaling unarmed damage with level might be a good idea. Though Mearls claims unarmed damage scales naturally with FoB's bonus damage, this has _nothing_ on the extra attack fighters get at L6; I don't think situational immunities, which again are boring, quite compensate for this difference. I'd be fine with incremented unarmed damage dice and/or additional interesting features (like Ki Disciplines in my OP proposal).



I think that Monks do not need scale their unarmed damage, ED do it well. And with respect to L6 extra attack of fighter Monks get Wholeness of Body (that can heal 20-30hp in 6 level) and Stunning Strike which problably, more or less, balance monk (if not simple increase the number of Ki uses per day).



@ Fimbria: What's to say that in the future (presumably when TWF is worth a damn), the person who specializes in TWF won't get  a return on investment that compares favourably even with the monk?


When that happens, I'll have no further objections.

(But I'm keeping an eye on that two-fisted brawler build.)

That's a great ki system, by the way. With ki powers like that, you could dress up a monk in weapons and armor and still recognize it in the field. Thumbs up.
@ Fimbria: Thanks.

@ itworks: FoB's effective extra 2d6 at level 6 doesn't quite compensate for 1d12+mods, even with Stunning Fist and Wholeness of Body (which themselves are boring and lacklustre) factored, not to mention the extra maneuvers Fighters get.

Also, not sure where you're getting your L6 Wholeness of Body numbers; the amount it restores is only 8-10 (6 + 2-4 ; level + Wisdom modifier). Do you mean in total? 24-30 HP regained (probably less than your max HP at that point) at the cost of all your daily resource Ki and three actions isn't particularly impressive, even if it doesn't demand your hit dice.
I like the notion of ki refresh and ki burning. I think the monk's fists could get to d8 when the fighter gets his second attack. It's not anywhere equivalent, but it seems like a reasonable place for a damage boost.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
Yeah, I had updated the unarmed damage increment to occur at level 6.
Bumping for posterity.
They reinstituted the alignment restrictions?  By all that's rational and good, I thought we were past this crap.

I mean, unless 5E is going to define "lawful" in this game as disciplined and nothing else (such that I could play a character who was disciplined but otherwise met or exceeded every previous edition's definition for chaotic and still be considered lawful), then this is a horrible idea.

We're already strapped for cash and shelf space.  Stop giving us reasons not to buy this game.   
I've finally figured out how to put in a sig. Yes, I'm including this here for no other reason than to express how happy I am that I could finally do this. For goodness' sake, change these forums back (or just change, I don't care).
It's worth pointing out that today's L&L article indicates that the strict alignment restrictions won't be staying.
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