Optimizing unarmed damage

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I'm looking to create a character that does optimal damage using the monk unarmed strike more than likely through multiclassing due to the fact all monk powers are implement and therefore make the fac you have an unarmed strike pointless because it all has set damage dice instead of [W]. Now I've already looked into fighter and barbarian and neither fits; brawler fighter becuse they are by their nature defenders/controllers and do not optimize damage, and barbarians because their high damage output abilities are for 2-handed weapons only.

The campaign I'm making this for starts us at level 6 and does intend to take us into epic tier, so when suggesting I'd also appreciate ideas for paragon paths and epic destinies be factored in as well.
MC Monk:  Master of the Fist.

Gets you MUS on a class capable of actually using it.  That's as much Monk as you want.  No monk singleclass, no monk hybrid.

Improved MUS (aka Bastard Sword proficiency) lets you get up to d10, Shock Trooper bumps it up to d12.  +3/d12 on an effectively one-handed weapon is as strong as it gets, so using classes that are designed around one-handers is the way to go.  You also need Fighter to do this (if you care about Shock Trooper, at least).  Fighter is not as bad for damage as you claim, having a chunk of Fighter is actually crucial for many classes' damage optimization.

I've made MUS builds around a brawler, but hybriding with a striker to bump the damage output.  I was quite pleased with the results.  It wasn't as much as a full striker, but it still had all the control of a brawler.  In this case hybriding actually gave me a hybrid, something between defender and striker.  The build I ended up going with was a fighter|rogue, but fighter|ranger would also work just fine.

The thing about MUS op is that it has precious little feat support, specifically the weapon-group feats that other things have access to.  Flails, blades, spears, that sort of thing.  There basically isn't any, so you're never going to hit the upper benchmarks for strikers.  But you can get something highly damaging (d12s on rogue powers gets sorta funny), and yet still quite strong in other areas.

I made a thread about it, the link is to the character summary, but you should read the whole thing.  Some good discussion.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Brawler is the answer (it is always the answer) as they are basically the only class that can make good use of Unarmed - everyone else would prefer to have a weapon.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
thri-kreen tempest fighter pmc ranger with elemental initiate for ki foci and increased [w] die. tempest over brawler, because brawlers can't ki focus.

another route (credit to erachima) is a straight monk that picks up dual weapon attack via pmc ranger.
Given that what you listed doesn't have monk unarmed strike, I'm not sure why you decided to post it.

I hope you're not suggesting of using non-monk unarmed strike, because that will be suboptimal.  And why can't brawlers use a ki focus?  Monk MC or Elemental Initiate and everything is fine.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Given that what you listed doesn't have monk unarmed strike, I'm not sure why you decided to post it.

I hope you're not suggesting of using non-monk unarmed strike, because that will be suboptimal.  And why can't brawlers use a ki focus?  Monk MC or Elemental Initiate and everything is fine.

this is what i understood from zathris on the matter:

Martial Powers 2 Update (updated ages ago, but as recently as March, 2012)
Brawler Style
Page 6: Replace the second paragraph of the Brawler Style section with the following text. In addition, delete the third paragraph. This change ensures that a character benefitting form this class feature isn't gaining an enhancement bonus to attack rolls from another source, such as the monk's ki focus.

"In addition, you gain a +2 enhancement bonus to the attack rolls of unarmed attacks and a +2 bonus to the attack rolls of grab attacks and attacks to move a creature you're grabbing. These bonuses increase to +4 at 11th level and +6 at 21st level."

So yeah, Brawler Style is pretty much doing nothing for you there if you're using a Ki Focus, and there's absolutely no reason to not use a Ki Focus.


The point of brawler style is not the free enhancement bonus.  It's...being a brawler.  Power riders, feats that require it, the fort/AC boost, etc.

And if you're using MUS, you must use a Ki Focus.  There is no alternative.  Not using a ki focus means that you do not get an enhancement bonus to damage rolls, critical effect, or weapon/implement enchantment of any kind, and that's simply unacceptable.

The errata just made it so that you don't get double the enhancement bonus by taking Brawler Style.  It was a necessary fix, and in no way diminishes the potency of Brawler builds, or the need to use a Ki Focus if you're doing an unarmed version of a Brawler.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
perhaps i'm underestimating brawler style, but i made a thread a few months back and no one seemed too fond of it then:


for reference's sake. anything that i would have to say would be a straight regurgitation from that thread; so i'll just leave it to you to go through the pros/cons.
Claw Gloves and a Were theme help on the damage (I like Werewolf for the speed bump).  Inspired by Mand's build, I tried a brawler|rogue/mc monk/stormtrooper with werewolf, playing at about lvl20.  The damage was good relative to the rest of the party, but at that high a level the grab powers of the brawler were unreliable as a lot of foes had some way to shake the grab off.  Very feat intensive build.  Presented below for your consultation, not as optimized as it could be I suspect.


====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Murtagh, level 21
Half-Orc, Fighter/Rogue, Shock Trooper, Destined Scion
Hybrid Talent Option: Fighter Combat Talent
Fighter Combat Talent Option: Brawler Style (Hybrid)
Epic Heroism Option: Strength
Epic Heroism Option: Dexterity
Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)
Theme: Werewolf

STR 26, CON 14, DEX 26, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 12

STR 16, CON 12, DEX 16, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 10

AC: 37 Fort: 39 Ref: 37 Will: 29
HP: 139 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 37

Acrobatics +23, Athletics +25, Endurance +21, Intimidate +20, Perception +17, Stealth +23

Arcana +10, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +11, Dungeoneering +12, Heal +12, History +10, Insight +12, Nature +12, Religion +10, Streetwise +11, Thievery +18

Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Werewolf Utility: Wolf Shape
Half-Orc Racial Power: Furious Assault
Fighter Attack: Combat Challenge
Fighter Attack 1: Grappling Strike
Rogue Attack 1: Riposte Strike
Fighter Utility 2: Forceful Drag
Rogue Attack 3: Low Slash
Rogue Utility 6: Ignoble Escape
Rogue Attack 9: Knockout
Endurance Utility 10: Enter the Crucible
Shock Trooper Attack 11: Shocking Twister
Shock Trooper Utility 12: Assault Footwork
Fighter Attack 13: Bash and Pummel
Fighter Attack 15: Relentless Headlock
Rogue Utility 16: Slip from the Grasp
Rogue Attack 17: Tumbling Strike
Fighter Attack 19: Smash and Grab
Shock Trooper Attack 20: Shocking Skewer

Level 1: Master of the Fist
Level 2: Piercing Palm
Level 4: Hybrid Talent
Level 6: Pin Down
Level 8: Ki Focus Expertise
Level 10: Improved Monk Unarmed Strike
Level 11: Improved Defenses
Level 12: World Serpent's Grasp
Level 14: Brawler Guard
Level 16: Weapon Focus (Unarmed)
Level 21: Ferocious Critical
Level 21: Unarmed Mastery

Monk unarmed strike x1
Spiked gauntlet x1
Bracers of Brachiation (paragon tier) x1
Diamond Cincture (heroic tier) x1
Boots of the Giantkind (heroic tier) x1
Claw Gloves x1
Mountainfall Ki Focus +4 x1
Feyleather Armor of Dark Deeds +4 x1
Iron Ring of the Dwarf Lords x1
Ring of Invigoration x1
Distance Dagger +1
Circlet of Arkhosia (paragon tier) x1
Amulet of Vigor +4 x1
Potion of Vitality
Potion of Regeneration (heroic tier)
Power Jewel
Flying Hook
Iron Hand Anvil Breaker
Iron Hand Unbreakable Form
====== End ======

I'm kind of surprised to see everyone saying brawler. I'd go tempest for the damage bonus since this guy wants to be a striker. You don't need brawler riders or feats unless you want to be grabbing stuff, although I concede that brawlers can get better defenses (this is all assuming the given fighter features, TWD, and Brawler Guard feat work with MUS at all).
the reason for brawler in my particular case is to get and keep CA and facilitate Riposte Strike.  Pinning down and spamming Riposte Strike is the build's schtick.  Works well when it works, but didn't always work.
(this is all assuming the given fighter features, TWD, and Brawler Guard feat work with MUS at all).

They do, as long as you use the fix of wearing two mundane spiked gauntlets that you never actually use.  They will satisfy all the relevant requirements for pretty much any power, feat, or feature you care about.

The point behind Brawler is that you can't get MUS to damage levels that other strikers can get to anyway, so you might as well trade a tiny amount of damage for a massive increase in control.

It creates a better overall character, though not necessarily a better striker.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition