RMANO: Monk mobility houserules

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"RMANO" stands for "Rip Me A New One". I despise "P.E.A.C.H." because every single word in that acronym is something that goes without saying in a conversation (which is voluntary, based upon reading what the others write, but also soliciting feedback and assuming the action is done in good faith), and I won't use it. Instead, I want brutal commentary on this - survival of the fittest, design-and-development style.


There are many, many, MANY problems with the Monk class in the PHB. I won't go into them all here; there are simply too many. However, because the monk mechanics are used to power unarmed combat in much of the rest of the game (i.e. prestige classes stack with monk for some, but not all, of the classic monk abilities rather than providing their own martial arts, equipment provides virtual monk levels, and even the unarmed swordsage refers to unarmed damage "as a monk"), it means that the monk still has a loose stranglehold on this aspect of the game. This means that anyone who wants to play a martial artist is going to have to make contact with the monk in some way, shape, or form, and thus inherit several of the monk's problems.

There are two other major monk problems worth discussing before we dive into the meat of this thread. The first is that its key abilities actually work at cross-purposes to each other - the classic example is Monk Speed + Flurry of Blows (barring action-granting equipment, you can't use them together due to the action costs - and nothing should rely on action-granting equipment to merely function). The second is that monks, in melee, suffer from self-imposed limits on everything that melee needs. They don't get Reach with any weapon they can use their abilities with. They don't get Power Attack beyond 1:1 unless they're using a quarterstaff (although they do get "off-hand" 1:1 Power Attack, in effect a bonus Oversized TWF feat). They don't get armor, so their low-reach combat exposes them to a lot of attacks. The moderate base attack combines with the narrow chances they get to deliver multiple attacks, leading to the monk frequently choosing between doing nothing or delivering a Flurry of Misses. 

This is a proposed collection of houserules based around getting those different monk abilities to talk to each other, and cover for SOME - but not all - of the monk's combat confusion as discussed above. Along the way, it carves out a mechanical niche for the monk that should make it play very differently than before, bringing more of its abilities to bear all at once. It's NOT intended to make the monk a replacement for, say, the unarmed swordsage - if anything, the monk's final destination here should be lower-to-mid Tier 4. Further offensive bumps up the tier system can come later (and would probably be separate class features for the monk rather than modification of monk features used by many classes); I'm focusing on dynamic play rather than the raw numbers for now. The point of this thread is to provide a possible starting point for this.


Monk Mobility Package


These are modifications of existing monk abilities to give her a more mobile, dynamic chassis. They advance with existing monk ability enhancers (i.e. a prestige class or Tashalatora) exactly like the normal monk ability they're linked to, but because no class I know of advances all of these, it actually might make monks more interesting as a single class without requiring more than a handful of monk levels to bring them to bear in more interesting classes.

Consider the following abilities to appear as part of the text of the corresponding monk ability. As extensions of normal monk abilities, they go away when those abilities would go away (i.e. when wearing armor).



  • Combat Lunge (extends "Unarmed Strike"):


    • A monk can attack with an aerial lunge, leaping between multiple targets and chasing down elusive foes. A monk's melee reach with all monk weapons improves by 5 feet per 4 effective monk levels (+5 feet at 4th level, +10 feet at 8th level, etc - this is the same rate at which unarmed damage increases). However, whenever she makes a melee attack with such a weapon within this increased reach, she moves in a straight line to the nearest square adjacent to her target immediately before making the attack. Treat this movement as a 5' step, except that it can cover longer distances, does not count against nor interfere with normal movement, and ignores difficult terrain. Additionally, if this movement would move a monk through the threatened area of a creature fighting defensively or using Combat Expertise, it provokes attacks of opportunity as if it were normal movement. 

    • A monk can lunge any number of times each round, including on attacks of opportunity, with one exception: if she charges, she can only lunge on the first attack, and cannot lunge again until the start of her next turn. Because grappling removes her threatened area, a monk is normally unable to lunge while grappling as well.

    • If a monk is unable to complete this movement, whether by terrain (use the guidelines for aiming a straight-line charge attack; remember how cover interacts with melee attacks), a movement-interruption AoO effect, or any other cause, that attack is foiled.


      • [Three possible FAQ notes. Yes, a monk martial adept can lunge on a strike (if the strike involves multiple attacks (against multiple foes) or if you're mixing in Snap Kick, you can even lunge multiple times - but if the strike targets multiple foes, like Steel Wind, you only lunge into position once, and that has to be into the nearest possible square to launch the attack), and if you happen to get up to Spring Attack, lunge movement doesn't count against normal movement, so a speed 50 monk can move 25, Lunge, then continue moving another 25. Second, Combat Lunge isn't "natural reach" so to speak, so it isn't doubled if the monk is using a reach weapon nor is it increased if the monk enlarges (it's added on to her final normal reach and the Lunge only triggers if you're delivering an attack into the reach provided by Lunge, not the reach provided by your weapon). Finally, if the monk somehow treats a reach weapon as a monk weapon - i.e. a longspear with the Serpent Strike feat - she lunges into the nearest position to the target from which she could normally attack with that weapon (i.e. 10' away with a longspear) instead of adjacent to the target.]



  • Initiative Boost (Add to AC Bonus):


    • A monk adds twice the bonus to AC from her monk level (i.e. +2 per 5 monk levels) as an untyped bonus to her Initiative checks. (She does NOT add her Wisdom bonus to AC to her initiative; this only considers the AC bonus from level, i.e. the "AC bonus" column on her class table.)


  • Floating Withdraw (Add to Monk Speed):


    • Monk speed applies to any movement mode the monk may use. Treat it in all ways as a modification to her base speed with that movement mode.

    • A monk adds one-half her monk speed to the distance she can travel under the Withdraw action before she is considered threatened. For example, a 10th level monk (Monk speed +30) would consider the square she started in, plus the first 15' of movement, as unthreatened when using the Withdraw action.

    • If the monk has the Greater Flurry ability, when she uses the Withdraw action, she can make a single melee attack with a monk weapon immediately before moving. This attack does not benefit from the increased reach from combat lunge.


  • Ki Step (Add to Slow Fall):


    • The monk can move this distance over liquid as part of normal movement before sinking. This movement counts against her normal movement speed as if it were difficult terrain. She must start and end her turn on solid ground or else she sinks.

    • The monk can ascend or descend a vertical surface, or traverse a ceiling, by this distance before falling or needing to make Climb checks, even if there are no handholds or footholds. This movement counts against her normal movement speed as if it were difficult terrain. She must start and end her movement on a horizontal space or from a stable handhold or foothold to use this ability.

    • The Slow Fall ability acts as normal. (Note that the earlier abilities are limited by speed, so a 20th level monk can't run "any distance" across water - she's still limited by her normal speed.)


      • [Possible FAQ: Yes, you can Withdraw over walls, ceilings, and lakes as well, although they still count as difficult terrain.]





Designer notes

Combat Lunge is obviously the big seller here. It's intended to give the monk reach, most obviously, but in a manner that makes sense - rather than, say, tentacle arms, they get Dancing Blade Form's abiltiy to strike on the move with kung-fu jump-kicks. (I openly admit I got the idea of having it trigger on any attack from KOTOR's Force Jump and Batman: Arkham Asylum's combo system.) Having the ability to strike over a wide area - and carry the monk out of that area - allows their unarmed strike to actually protect them, gives them the ability to make Flurries more often, and is intended to allow a single monk to act as a pseudo-tank in a martial arts sense (i.e. Lunge between three targets, delivering Improved Trip attacks on each one).

Aside: I wrote it the way I did to allow the monk to actually attack aerial targets as well if they happen to dive within reach. Remember that moving through a threatened area provokes an AoO, which the monk can use to Lunge onto you if you're flying near it, and that Grapple can be used against flying targets to hold on. (This gets even more dynamic in tighter quarters with Ki Step's movement along walls or ceilings.)

Initiative Boost is modelled after the swordsage's Quick to Act. AC bonus is something that exists to support monks for not wearing armor, but realistically all it does is increase their MAD. Initiative Boost decreases that somewhat by having their AC bonus also increase their Initiative. Plus, the fluff description for the AC boost - preternatural awareness about one's surroundings - sounds like it should perfectly well apply to reaction time, shouldn't it?

Floating Withdraw was an attempt to use the Monk Speed ability somewhere else - particularly in allowing the monk to escape situations against  monsters that out-reach it when he doesn't have secondary targets against which to Lunge. The Withdraw action is underused (for good reason - it sucks), but if the monk lunges in against a big beast and bites off more than she can chew, surely her advanced speed should aid her ability to slip away (particularly if she had no trouble closing distance with a Lunge). The interaction with Greater Flurry gives some incentive for higher-level monks to actually consider this option, as you can try to deliver a kick (or a Stunning Fist, Improved Trip, or whatever) against one guy who's pinning you down before you slip away to a more advantageous position. Remember that Lunge can trigger on AoOs, so Withdraw doesn't necessarily mean you're out of the battlefield - it just means you're in a position to lunge at someone else. (My first version of this ability was actually called "Float like a butterfly" for a reason.)

Ki Step is just a simplified version of two monk ACFs (from Stormwrack and from Dungeonscape respectively) fused into a useless ability to give some reward if Slow Fall happens to progress for whatever reason. They use difficult terrain mechanics since that includes an automatic speed differential, and it allows for a natural degree of multiclassing.

On that multiclassing front, did you notice that every one of these abilities combines very well with what the monk should have been, a Swordsage? (Example: Lunge, as worded, will trigger movement effects like Devastating Throw and Child of Shadow, and Step of the Wind doubles the distance you can move with Ki Step, and Initiative Boost stacks with Quick To Act in exactly the same way the two classes' AC bonuses don't stack.) They still reward having actual monk levels, but if you can get a swordsage dip and then enter a monk advancing PrC (say, Shadow Sun Ninja), the results can get pretty badass, even for a "monk".


Dedication to the Path

One optional - but recommended, based on my tests -  requirement is that the above abilities should not be given out wholesale, but should rather be unlocked for monks who express dedication to their discipline instead of just those who dabble in the martial arts. Under this option, a monk needs a number of ranks in the corresponding skill greater than her effective monk level(with respect to that feature) to use them. They also require a minimum number of monk levels (actual levels in Monk, regardless of where they got the class feature from - i.e. Unarmed Swordsage, which is badass enough and has access to Unarmed Strike, does not get Lunge until he has at least one real monk level) to get access to the ability.

  • Combat Lunge (Unarmed Strike, min monk 1): Jump.

  • Initiative boost (AC bonus, min monk 1): Concentration.

  • Floating Withdraw (Monk Speed, min monk 3): Tumble.

  • Ki Step (Slow Fall, min monk 4): Balance.


Note that linking this to effective monk level makes equipment like the Monk's Belt into, in essence, Practiced Spellcaster effects for monk unarmed combat rather than "take one level for the feature, then gear the hell up" options. If your effective monk level for unarmed damage is already higher than your HD+3, for instance, you can't use Combat Lunge (since you won't have enough ranks in Jump)!

This is optional, of course, but it does prevent some of the crazier multiclassing impacts of this change without putting too much emphasis on actual levels in monk (as you can get all of these abilities before Monk's absolute last level, 6, and typically you'd only want the abilities that your PrC or multiclass feat advance anyway).




Potential problems:
Monks still can't hit worth crap with a medium attack bonus, meaning they're best off against mooks. (This is actually one of the advantages of Lunge: A single monk can cover an entire room full of mooks by leaping between them.) They still only get 1:1 Power Attack, although now they can target their attacks MUCH more freely and make them MUCH more frequently.

One possibility I like that I'm playing around with right now is adding a slightly altered Decisive Strike (PHB2 alternative to Flurry) directly into the Flurry advancement, probably at the same time Greater Flurry comes online (i.e. you get Flurry normally, then sometime between 9 and 11 you get Decisive Strike as well).  Decisive Strike normally lets you deliver a single monk-weapon attack as a full-round action, but it (and all AoOs) deal double damage. The modification would be that this attack is also treated as a two-handed attack regardless of the weapon you're using (so Strength*1.5 and 2:1 PA). (If this is unlocked with a required skill rank, it'd be Concentration.) What I'm not sure about is what it should do with Lunge; my current idea is that, if you use Decisive Strike, it would work with Lunge (which means you don't need to be in position to start, meaning more frequent Decisive Strikes), but Decisive Strike would disable the ability to Lunge until the start of your next turn, similar to a charge. This would reinforce the Decisive Strike option as one you'd use against single targets, leaving Flurry (and its several enormous leaps) against spread-out targets. It would retain the utility of the Decisive Strike + Snap Kick combo against single targets without allowing Snap Kick to be an instant bailout, as well.

However, the main emphasis here was on movement and getting the monk features to play nice with each other. Getting the damage to be respectable in a way that doesn't break open all the things that borrow from Monk is the next step.



Okay, now that that's on the table, I'm interested in your thoughts. Remember that this is not intended to be a single-step-solution to fixing all the monk problems, but rather as an alternative direction to make monk play (and monk-into-PrC/multiclass-feat play) more dynamic and distinctive relative to fighters or martial adepts.

With all that said, go ahead: rip me a new one. 


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Seems you will certainly be more maneuverable, which is a great goal for monks. Some questions to help you cover other areas they really should be able to do.



  • How do you deal with an imp with a long bow in a field? (flight + Ranged attacks. Your monk loses the SGT for level 5, even at level 20)

  • How does your monk keep people from 5ft step back and casting/winning? (Suggestion, Combat lunge works on threatened areas? Maybe steal some ideas from Tome Fighters Foil)

  • Dedication to the path seems like a skill tax on monks. I get your intent, but monks don't really need any taxes and Int is almost always a dump state. This isn't a question.

  • Actually, I referenced it earlier, but you should seriously just run it through the SGT for a bunch of levels and see how it stacks up. dungeons.wikia.com/wiki/Dungeons_and_Dra... if you can't find it. This also wasn't a question.


Ill still give you low end of T4 I guess. But thats also not an awesome goal. I like high 3 low 2, and think the majority of people find themselves there. Getting it up to 4 is a good start though.



"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

"RMANO" stands for "Rip Me A New One". I despise "P.E.A.C.H." because every single word in that acronym is something that goes without saying in a conversation (which is voluntary, based upon reading what the others write, but also soliciting feedback and assuming the action is done in good faith), and I won't use it. Instead, I want brutal commentary on this - survival of the fittest, design-and-development style.


Sorry if I don't take on the challenge of evaluating your class yet.  I know I always judge houserule material by comparing it to published material on the mistaken assumption that all of that should be more or less even.  A small example of that is saying that a class with a full BAB, full spellcasting, good/great HD, skills, and saves is too strong even without any other class abilities although there are many people who would dispute that.  I'll save the class evaluation for later if ever.

Unfortunately "PEACH" does need to be said at times.  Too often someone posts some homebrew stuff and it is pointed out how much stronger it is than available, and even usable, things are and then those comments get dismissed because "you aren't looking at it from a munchkin point of view."  It's even worse when people would use that acronym and then completely disregard all of your honest evaluation and critics because it isn't what they wanted to hear.

RMANO is a bit too harsh as well.   I mean what does one say when there really isn't anything to 'rip' although there may be some areas that could be refined or revised. 
Thanks, Krusk!

Seems you will certainly be more maneuverable, which is a great goal for monks. Some questions to help you cover other areas they really should be able to do.



  • How do you deal with an imp with a long bow in a field? (flight + Ranged attacks. Your monk loses the SGT for level 5, even at level 20)

  • How does your monk keep people from 5ft step back and casting/winning? (Suggestion, Combat lunge works on threatened areas? Maybe steal some ideas from Tome Fighters Foil)

  • Dedication to the path seems like a skill tax on monks. I get your intent, but monks don't really need any taxes and Int is almost always a dump state. This isn't a question.

  • Actually, I referenced it earlier, but you should seriously just run it through the SGT for a bunch of levels and see how it stacks up. http://dungeons.wikia.com/wiki/Dungeons_and_Dragons_Wiki:The_Same_Game_Test if you can't find it.


Ill still give you low end of T4 I guess. But thats also not an awesome goal. I like high 3 low 2, and think the majority of people find themselves there. Getting it up to 4 is a good start though.



My goal wasn't to try to get it up to upper 4 / lower 3 (which is about where I think it belongs; swordsage is mid-upper 3) in one swoop, but to try to carve out a distinct niche for it first and then build on it from there. That niche appears to be high mobility (hard to pin down, hard to evade through normal means - in effect, able to hold down areas or keep up pressure on high-value targets); its damage output and options other than "punch something in the face" are still limited and are areas to look at later.

(Part of the problem is that I'm not "fixing the monk" so to speak - I'm altering the monk class features. This means that more interesting monklike PrCs - Enlightened Fist, Shadow Sun Ninja, etc - and even the unarmed swordsage and Monk's Belt type items have to be taken into account, since they make use of those very features. You don't want to perfectly fix the monk only to make every Tashalatora-user into a tiny god.)

I hadn't heard about the SGT before, but I'll tackle the level 5 now (at least at a superficial level). I think more to the point here isn't so much what the final monk performs, but how much better the final monk performs compared to the stock monk (which is admittedly pretty terribad).
SGT 5th challenges
Be advised: Most of these are based on damage and durability, and the modifications at this stage are based on mobility - addressing a different problem. Also, this assumes NO special equipment like potions of Fly.


  • A locked door behind an arbitrarily high number of assorted CR 4 traps.


    • Old monk: Rely on good saving throws (or cheap equipment like marbles / 10' pole) to approach the door, then either bash it open or use a cross-class skill.

    • Modified monk: Able to walk on walls in 10' stretches, possibily avoiding many of the trigger mechanisms, but otherwise identical to the normal monk.

    • Difference: Modified monk gets a slight edge (or a significant edge if the traps were already located).


  • A huge Animated iron statue in a throne room.


    • Old monk: Beat face and weep at the hardness, particularly if you have to get close enough to flurry. That beast is nearly impossible to use a standard combat maneuver on at this level and 

    • Modified monk: Able to Lunge in (possibly from a wall), skipping its reach and still delivering a flurry on round 1. If outclassed, can Withdraw (treating the first 2 squares she passes through as unthreatened, then moving up to 30 further feet away) to reset the conditions. (The animated statue's reach equals out her lunge distance at level 5, so she can't rely on an AoO to lunge back in, but she CAN still lunge in on normal movement without provoking, even without using Tumble.)

    • Difference: Modified monk has a definite edge in opportunities to strike, but those strikes will remain as worthless as they were pre-modifications.


  • Basilisk in its desert burrow.


    • Old monk: Decent chance of surviving the gaze, move in, slowly beat face. (Basilisks are very hard to trip and have a good enough Fort save to make Stunning Fist a poor option.)

    • Modified monk: Lunge allows flurries sooner. Initiative Boost gives you a better chance to get close to the basilisk before it turns its gaze on. 

    • Difference: Slight but noticable edge for modified monk due to Lunge closing the distance. The basilisk prefers to bite if the foe's in reach, and the modified monk can more easily stay in reach.


  • A Large Fire Elemental in a mystic forge.


    • Old monk: Target can't be stunned, but can be tripped - although you'll probably be biting the burn damage (not something that can be Evaded).

    • Modified monk: Able to stand just outside its threatened areas, extinguish Burn, 5' step, and still Lunge the rest of the distance to attack again. As with the statue, Withdraw gives the option of covering more ground on the escape than the creature can possibly threaten.

    • Difference: Definite edge to the modified monk, although the prospects still aren't too hot.


  • Manticore on the wing above a plain.


    • See the Imp verdict below; it's basically identical. This is one area that monks have always sucked at (although Deflect Arrows helps their defenses better than most).


  • Phase Spider anywhere. They're tricky creatures like that.


    • Definite improvement to the modified monk, believe it or not. Improved ability to close distances with the Phase Spider (she can move 40' and Lunge another 10; the spider's speed is 40. She can also move 10' up a wall and then Lunge 10' again; the spider's climb speed is 20), even if the spider's jaunting (as jaunting creatures move at half speed and the spider can't actually fly, meaning it has to jaunt to a place on a wall, ceiling, or floor if it wants to attack). Furthermore, the modified monk has a better Initiative score, so she's less likely to be flat-footed unless the spider's focusing on her. (It's still a difficult fight, as it is for any melee character, as the spider usually materializes as a move, attacks as a standard, then jaunts, spending its next turn relocating; I suspect the monk would need to use readied actions to have a half-decent chance here). 


  • A couple of Centaur Archers in a light to medium wood.


    • Original monk tactics: Deflect Arrows, hope to be able to move close enough to punch.

    • Modified monk tactics: Deflect Arrows, able to move+lunge further, and able to double move and still lunge (on the AoO). It's not all that great a distance here, but a double-moving monk is easily faster than the centaurs (Speed 40 (double move 80) vs Speed 50 (move 50 + shoot). 

    • It's still annoying, but a definite increase in utility for the modified monk.


  • Howler/Allip tag team in an abandoned temple to a dark god.


    • This matchup isn't likely to see much advantage for the monk 5's abilities, either before or after the modification. No real improvement (except perhaps the improved Initiative).


  • Grimlock assault team (4 members) hidden in a cavern.


    • Old monk: Decent Wis + Sensory skills, try to run down a single grimlock (possibly with a Stunning Fist or trip), then flurry next turn, then repeat.

    • New monk: Same sensory idea, but now able to lunge between two separate grimlocks if they're within 10' on any full attack action, in effect bringing the multiple attacks to bear faster (including if they move to gang up on him, as he can lunge on AoOs. Better Initiative to react when they are sensed. Able to use cavern features to get high ground very easily (particularly with Lunge to help make up the difference).

    • Decisive improvement on the modified monk, although this is kind of the niche the modifications were aiming for.


  • Cleric of Hextor (with his dozen zombies) in a crypt.


    • Fight's exactly like the grimlocks, for both monk versions, with the possibility of going for the grapple/pin on the cleric if your team's better suited for the zombies, or Lunging between zombies (in effect having the reach of an AoO tank, but with the ability to lunge along a chain of zombies to close with the cleric if you want to) if your team is better suited to tackle the cleric. Interestingly, if you decide to go for the cleric, fight the zombies - every hit (trip) you deliver comes with Lunge movement, which can move you 20' while still delivering both attacks (possibly more with Snap Kick): in effect, the zombies can let you "leapfrog" your way to the cleric. In both cases you're able to scurry up walls and then either Jump or Lunge to avoid dogpiles.

    • As above, decisive advantage for the modified monk.




While it doesn't perform well, it does perform substantially better. It even seems to get a niche: Fighting while outnumbered. And that's what I was aiming for with this starting point.



-Imp in a field: Just as bad as the standard monk (Deflect Arrows), but slightly better chances of acting first (+2 Initiative) and slightly increased chance of actually catching the thing (Run + AoO with Lunge on a 10' reach, or if trees are around, move 10' up the thing before needing to climb higher, which might give a chance of getting the imp in reach). Still a fail, but not as spectacular a failure as the standard monk. (Interestingly, I think it might be possible to extend the Ki Step mechanic at higher levels to operate like Balance on the Sky, which would give the monk something akin to flight without needing equipment - it's the one PHB melee class that I think could pull this off thematically. But that's a thought for later - and realistically, who the hell doesn't have flying gear at level 20?).

-5' step back, casting, and winning: Level 4+ gives 10' reach, but each attack moves you adjacent to the target for free (this is similar to the 5' step at this point, but at higher levels the lunge distance is MUCH longer). Likewise, you can still move your full speed and then Lunge adjacent to the target, or double-move adjacent (possibly with Tumble depending on your target's melee defenses). If you start adjacent, and someone 5' steps back and tries to cast, they're still in your threatened area, and you can lunge on an AoO, so you're in their face again and trying to disrupt their spell. (Defensive casting still foils this without Mage Slayer though.) They'd need to use a move action to get out of the way - and that means they're leaving a threatened square, so they provoke for the movement as if they were moving through a spiked chain user's reach. Old monk was pinned to the floor. As levels increase and lunge distance improves (20th level monk unarmed damage = 25' lunge distance, and this applies on every attack)  the discrepancy between old and new only gets tougher. Decisive advantage to new monk. 

--Related: The "lockdown-style" fighter (sans-Thicket) will have problems holding the monk back, because Lunge operates on 5' step mechanics. You step back to force the monk to move through your threatened area, and he's still lunging in your face. That's why the "fight defensively/combat expertise" line is in there. Incidentally, the phrasing on Floating Withdraw is designed with Thicket in mind: your average guy with a spiked chain actually doesn't threaten the squares the monk Withdraws through, preventing Thicket from kicking in on later squares.

- "Dedication to the path" thing is optional; I concur it's a skill tax though I argue that most monks WOULD want those very skills (except perhaps Concentration, which I could drop from the list and make the initiative boost free). It's there as an attempt to find a way to prevent the Iron Man Monk syndrome ("I have one level of monk, but a full expensive suite of +effective monk level gear, and I'm better than a normal monk at his job") while still keeping them useful. I used skill rank because the class features usually scale differently depending on which classes or items you use, and skill rank is slightly better than your HD regardless of what classes you're taking. I'll try to take another stab at it somehow without being too arbitrary. (I don't want to use "HD" as the upper limit because then the "Monk's" items become useless for mostly-single-classed monks.)

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

I like the combat lunge for its mobility improvement, though I don't feel floating withdraw adds much for monks with a decent investment in Tumble; they can already move away without provoking attacks of opportunity, and there isn't a consistent benefit to being further away after moving, especially when a monk already has a heightened movement rate.  I know you mentioned Thicket of Blades, but doesn't that specifically mention withdrawing as not working against it?

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
I like the combat lunge for its mobility improvement, though I don't feel floating withdraw adds much for monks with a decent investment in Tumble; they can already move away without provoking attacks of opportunity, and there isn't a consistent benefit to being further away after moving, especially when a monk already has a heightened movement rate.  I know you mentioned Thicket of Blades, but doesn't that specifically mention withdrawing as not working against it?


A good point - the floating withdraw's benefit is marginal once you get Tumble up there, since Withdraw's a full-round action. There is one advantage, though it isn't mechanical - rather than reducing your speed to half and having to make skill checks for each foe (Tumble involves sequential checks, at +2 DC per target, and these features excel when there's a lot of potential targets), this ability would speed up gameplay because the monk could just simply move unfettered (and a double move at that, although you're right that this is probably superfluous.)

(Additionally, you're right about Thicket trumping Withdraw, although strictly speaking Thicket only trumps Withdraw for the first square you're in. That's all a good Thicketer needs, though, so Thicket still emerges as the victor. I'll need to think about clever ways to do this without starting an arms race of absolutes.)

My main goal with these were rehab - getting the class features to play nice with each other instead of working at cross-purposes. A possible modification would read "A monk can use the Withdraw action as a standard action instead of a full-round action, although she may only move up to her normal speed." It would keep the extra nonthreatened squares text as presented above, along with the Greater-Flurry-Slap. (A feat could possibly reduce this to a move action, in effect allowing the monk to withdraw from just about any dogpile - tumbling only when she needs to move through an occupied square - and still Lunge to another target, all without any AoOs or checks to slow combat down).

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

(Additionally, you're right about Thicket trumping Withdraw, although strictly speaking Thicket only trumps Withdraw for the first square you're in. That's all a good Thicketer needs, though, so Thicket still emerges as the victor. I'll need to think about clever ways to do this without starting an arms race of absolutes.)

We've already kind of got that arms race with the standard Tumble skill; does Thicket of Blades win for provoking against any kind of movement, or Tumble for provoking no attacks of opportunity while tumbling?
My main goal with these were rehab - getting the class features to play nice with each other instead of working at cross-purposes. A possible modification would read "A monk can use the Withdraw action as a standard action instead of a full-round action, although she may only move up to her normal speed." It would keep the extra nonthreatened squares text as presented above, along with the Greater-Flurry-Slap. (A feat could possibly reduce this to a move action, in effect allowing the monk to withdraw from just about any dogpile - tumbling only when she needs to move through an occupied square - and still Lunge to another target, all without any AoOs or checks to slow combat down).

What's the problem you're trying to fix with the withdraw part?  You've already got Tumble and combat lunge (which needs a more monk-ish name, but that's a matter of aesthetics) for ignoring everything except maybe Thicket of Blades, and that particular obstacle isn't going to be fixed by withdraw options.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
What's the problem you're trying to fix with the withdraw part?  You've already got Tumble and combat lunge (which needs a more monk-ish name, but that's a matter of aesthetics) for ignoring everything except maybe Thicket of Blades, and that particular obstacle isn't going to be fixed by withdraw options.


Dogpiles and lockdowns, particularly with the increased aggression the lunge encourages. Withdraw is one of the clearest ways to escape both of these (except Thicket), although there could be better ones. Additionally, monk speed progression lends itself well to the scale I presented above, and I was looking for something to attach to monk speed that would put it to use in turns when the monk wasn't engaging in normal movement. (See how Slow Fall's progression works well as other distance measurements as well as for its original fall distance reduction? I thought the movement speed bonus was similarly well-scaled, just poorly-applied.) I'm open to other places which might benefit from that particular progression.

(Also, these are just my internal names for the abilties. They'll certainly be renamed during polishing (i.e. Combat Lunge -> Mantis Leap or Tiger Pounce, Floating Withdraw -> Be Like Water or Float Like A Butterfly, etc.). Development names should reflect the mechanics entirely if they're being designed from the bottom-up, and changed at the end - and these abilities are all bottom-up.)

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Dogpiles and lockdowns, particularly with the increased aggression the lunge encourages. Withdraw is one of the clearest ways to escape both of these (except Thicket), although there could be better ones. Additionally, monk speed progression lends itself well to the scale I presented above, and I was looking for something to attach to monk speed that would put it to use in turns when the monk wasn't engaging in normal movement. (See how Slow Fall's progression works well as other distance measurements as well as for its original fall distance reduction? I thought the movement speed bonus was similarly well-scaled, just poorly-applied.) I'm open to other places which might benefit from that particular progression.

It mainly feels like it should be doing more, but maybe I'm just overestimating the scope you've intended, since part of that is already covered by combat lunge.

Hmm, I think you could make the ability to move further without provoking attacks of opportunity a more general part of the monk's speed, so that you don't need to assign the benefits of safe movement specifically to either withdrawing or combat lunge.  Kind of like having the benefits of withdrawing for all movement (and getting better at higher levels).

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
 It mainly feels like it should be doing more, but maybe I'm just overestimating the scope you've intended, since part of that is already covered by combat lunge.

Hmm, I think you could make the ability to move further without provoking attacks of opportunity a more general part of the monk's speed, so that you don't need to assign the benefits of safe movement specifically to either withdrawing or combat lunge.  Kind of like having the benefits of withdrawing for all movement (and getting better at higher levels).


...Now that you mention it, that does seem like it would work, but it could get out of hand really fast unless it's cut down a bit more. Here's an option:

Add to Monk Speed: if the monk would provoke an attack of opportunity by exiting a threatened square, and if she would retain her Dexterity bonus against that attack of opportunity, the attack automatically misses if the monk hasn't moved at least 1 square since the start of her turn. This distance increases by 1 square for every 3 effective levels of Monk Speed (i.e. it's 1/10th her bonus to speed: 1 square at 3rd, 6 squares at 20th). Opponents who threaten the monk are aware of this effect. Attacks of opportunity from effects other than exiting a threatened square occur as normal. 

This, in effect, uses monk speed to add a miniature Withdraw effect to all forms of movement that'd provoke AoOs, and it prevents the monk from starting her turn off with a Lunge and then deciding to either retreat with a normal move or continue into a full attack. (She can still move first then lunge back, but that leaves her exposed. If she lunges first, she doesn't benefit from this ability if she tries to move back out, but she can still Tumble; against a dedicated AoO lock she's committed.) It does use arms-race terminology with an automatic miss, but it also allows for an easy counter with Dex denial (similar to how Lunge has an easy out with fighting defensively). The automatic miss terminology isn't quite so bizarre, since it's the same as the Deflect Arrows feat.

If it needs to do more lifting, allow the monk to move (as if 5' stepping) some distance as an immediate action whenever she succeeds on a Reflex saving throw to which Evasion applies (phrased so if you somehow get Monk Speed without actually getting Evasion, this ability won't trigger). Because this is more situational and costs an action (not a serious issue for a straight monk, but increased competition for effects that advance Monk Speed), it might be worth using the entire Monk Speed distance (i.e. 10 feet at 3rd, 60 feet at 20th). It still fits the theme of getting the different monk abilities to talk to each other, even though there isn't anything inherently in conflict with Evasion, and it reinforces the monk as a skirmisher (the distance can easily be used to put the monk out of sight or to close the distance to the source). It also has the side effect of working against certain forms of trap.

Finally, it might be worth untyping the movement speed bonus, as you'd expect speedy characters to value +Speed items, but as it stands monks don't (as most such items are enhancement).

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

What ways would you see it getting out of hand if it's not cut down?  Is it really so bad to allow the monk a lot of freedom in avoiding movement-based attacks of opportunity?

Even at full strength, it doesn't do any better than a bunch of ranks in Tumble, it's just slightly more convenient for short distances.  It can certainly have a limit where it only applies to attacks where you've got your Dexterity bonus, and maybe a thing like uncanny dodge where higher-level monks can counter it.

I agree that untyping the movement bonus wouldn't hurt, and the evasion benefit is nice.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.