monk minmax creation guide

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This is a guide to monk creation. Basically, its a collection of personal opinions on how to make a good monk, complied and edited from posts I've made on the subject. Post any questions and I'll edit and respond as appropriate.

This guide should be totally v3.5 compliant and up-to-date as of the publishing of Sandstorm. And casually includes the Dragon #318 v3.5 update for Oriental Adventures.

I highly recommend Beyond Monks (Chainmail Bikini) as a great supplement for players wishing to play monks. I can't really effectively deal with the product in this context, since the multitude of new feats and styles exponentially increases the number of possible builds. Basically, if you want to play a monk you can't go wrong with Beyond Monks. Its mostly a mechanical text (feats, PrCs, styles) but they're well-written and balanced enough that I can't single out just a few feats worth taking.

Another product worth getting is Quintessential Monk (Mongoose). Though it has less mechanical elements than Beyond Monks, it has a lot more flavor text and cool concepts like how to establish a school or monastary, martial secrets (abilities you generally learn from secretive masters for cool-but-not-gamebreaking abilities) and some good PrCs.

SECTIONS -- Introduction

Holistic Description of Monk Minmax




On Multiclassing

Items and Equipment

Vow of Poverty

Some Examples (w/ Links)



Monks are an intermediate class, having the same relationship to the fighting classes as the Bard does to spellcasters. Noting that no fighting class wants to ever be compared to a Bard, it is safe to assume that a Monk needs some help to keep pace with his more brawny and skilled companions. But do not worry! A monk is fast, agile, and in the right conditions capable of dealing good damage and striking key opponents. Additionally, Monks make a great cherry-pick class - in and out with 2 levels of Monk and you have quite a bit to show for it.

The role of this guide is to assist in planning a monk's feats in order to maintain a maximum capability and to minimize the various weaknesses of the monk class.



Monks require planning - they have few feats to use and are generally expected to perform well in combat to some degree. Unlike a Fighter who can 'waste' a feat or two, the Monk has to be extremely careful about what to do with those valuable and too-limited feat choices.

First, recognize the limitations of your statistics. With moderate to good stats, you'll be best served taking several related feats with a few non-synergistic side feats to maintain versatility. With great stats, you can probably take two feat trees and allow your stats to make up for the depth you'd otherwise have by concentrating on only a single specialization.

Second, don't operate alone. You're not built to accept a lot of punishment, and will generally have a low AC and only moderate HP total. If you're in melee, stay close to the fighter-types and hope that they absorb the majority of the attacks. If you have a rogue in the party, encourage him to stick close enough to employ his sneak attacks against opponents you happen to Stun.

Third, PLAN YOUR BUILD. Monk multiclassing is tricky, due to alignment restrictions, bonus feat restrictions, and Monk multiclass restrictions. Its best to know what PrCs or feat chains you're going to want prior to leveling heavily in a class as tightly regulated as Monks are.

POINTS WORTH MENTIONING Be sure that you discuss your Monk build with your GM prior to gametime. In OA, you can swap out any of the level 1, 2, and 6 feats, but it was written when v3.0 had no swapping. With the v3.5 monk rules, there's some question in my mind whether the OA feat swapping remains valid in all games. In any case, ask first: building a monk usually requires some planning, and you don't want to be surprised by a misunderstanding at level 9.

Dragon #318 states that if the v3.0 class adds to Monk UBAB, then the v3.5 version of the class would add to Monk levels to determine the capability of your Flurry. You should clear this with your GM before embarking on any multiclassing with your monk.



Monks benefit from lots of Feats, high STR, high CON, and being Large size. Little else helps, though a good DEX bonus is fine to have (though not at the expense of CON!).

This makes good race choices for Monks rather clear: Human, Dwarf, and Half Orc from the base races. Dependent on DM and setting, these other races make for great Monks: (Expanded Psionics HB) HalfGiants, (Forgotten Realms/Greyhawk) Wood Elves, (Races of Stone) Goliaths, (Frostburn) Neanderthals, and (Krynn) Minotaurs. If you have access to Dragon #313, the HalfMinotaur template is a completely unbalanced +1 ECL choice.

Personally, as a Monk I look for high stats (STR, CON, WIS) and being Large. 10' reach and an increase to damage die type are too good to pass up. Basically, I'd say being Large for +1 ECL is your first priority, and then great stats. HalfMinotaur (Human or HalfOrc) is probably the best choice for +1 ECL, but thats usually not an option. Goliaths and (Krynnish) Minotaurs make up my favorites, but HalfGiants are servicable.

The other races are suboptimal choices, and therefore won't really be dealt with in this guide. Generally, avoiding a STR or CON penalty is the only real guideline.

In general, there are few ECL races worth taking as a Monk. Most Monk abilities are level-dependent (as opposed to Fighters, who only gain a feats and BAB rather than abilities with new levels), meaning that maintaining the highest level possible is your goal. Githzerai (ECL +2) give great benefits, but the +2 ECL makes me wary. Monks have low survivability at low levels - high ECL Monks are best played as characters joining at a high level already, rather than starting at level 1.

You can freely ignore this advice in a game starting at high levels, where you can skip the early painful levels.



The more, the merrier. All classes benefit from having high stats, but the monk benefits more than most. A high WIS, STR, DEX, and CON would each easily find a nice home with a monk. Its difficult to identify which stat is 'most important', but identifying what monk niches you wish to occupy should help in the process.

First, you're going to want to hit in combat. This means either having a high STR, a high DEX (with Combat Finesse), or high WIS (with Combat Insight from the BoED). I personally recommend a high STR, as the damage bonus is nice as well. However, if you are lacking in a large spread of high stats and want to be a Monk, STR should be the first stat to be ignored.

With high stats, I would prioritize them: STR, WIS/CON, DEX. With moderate to good stats, I would prioritize them: WIS, DEX, CON, STR.

The idea of the high stat prioritization is first and foremost to do a lot of damage consistently (and saving a feat that would otherwise be Weapon Finesse). Second, you want a good AC and Stun Attack DC, but also a good load of HPs. This is a personal decision and I would rank these needs equally.

I personally would not attempt to play a monk with moderate to merely good stats. Thats a personal choice, since I really like to dominate rather than simply compete.



This is really where the Monk comes to the fore. With good feat choices you can save an otherwise weakling wannabe from the scrapheap of useless and/or dead PCs, where a lot of monks can end up if they're not careful.

Bonus Feats: Take Stunning Attack at 1st level. Its too useful to forego until later. If you want Improved Grapple, take it as a general feat choice. At 2nd level, take Combat Reflexes. Its a prereq for a lot of good feats, whereas Deflect Arrows should only be taken in specific instances (such as a character that intends on using Grappling Block). At 6th level, your choice depends on your stats. A high STR character should take Improved Trip - its useful and should give you the upper hand in dealing with some humanoids. Without a high STR, you're not going to Trip very well and therefore Improved Disarm should be taken, if only as a default. Unearthed Arcana has a collection of alternate Monk styles - they're worth looking over for alternates, especially if you need feat prereqs for some future feat considerations.


What do you want to do with your Monk? Personally, I enjoy adding to the Monk's capabilities that are inherent in the class, building on strengths, rather than attempting to develop new abilities. The most important thing to keep in mind is to achieve a balance: diversify without spreading yourself thin, and specialize without becoming myopic. There are a LOT of cool feats chains available to monks, and you're going to have to accept you're not going to be able to do it all. There are a ton of feats available and worth taking, and that means a ton of options. I can make a few recommendations, but clearly there is no "correct" choice, no overly powerful set of feats that obviate other choices. From the minmax perspective, thats a really nice feature: it means that you're going to have quite a few options to choose from without feeling like you're sacrificing substance for style.

Oriental Adventures greatly expands Monks by giving them a wide range of bonus feats, instead of the ones outlined in the PHB. Talk to your DM about getting access to these, since they give you a lot more versatility with your character's design and capabilities.

Here's a list of the feats by book most interesting to a monk thats generally unarmed...

Players Handbook: Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Combat Reflexes, Improved Grapple, Dodge/Mobility/Spring Attack, Power Attack, Cleave, Stunning Fist, Two Weapon Fighting/Imp TWF, Weapon Finesse, and Weapon Focus.

Monster Manual: Improved Natural Attack, Ability Focus.

Oriental Adventures (OA): Choke Hold, Grappling Block, Unbalancing Strike.

Eberron Campaign Setting (ECS): Monastic Training, Pursue (but only if you take Mage Slayer - CAr).

Sandstorm (SndS): Pharoah's Fist, Rattlesnake Strike, Scorpion's Grasp.

Complete Arcane (CAr): Mage Slayer (but only with a Reach weapon handy or Pursue), Pierce Magical Protection.

Complete Warrior (CW): Clever Wrestling, Close Quarters Fighting, Defensive Strike, Defensive Throw, Earth's Embrace, Extra Stunning, Fists of Iron, Flying Kick, Freezing the Lifeblood, Hold the Line (with a Reach weapon prepared), Karmic Strike, Pain Touch, Rapid Stunning.

Miniatures Handbook: Deft Opportunist, Double Hit.

Savage Species (SS): Virulent Poison (for those using Rattlesnake Strike from SndS)

Races of Faerun: Hammer Blow, Jotunbrud

Dragon Magazine (Dgn): Staggering Blow (#279). This gets special mention as awesomely powerful.

Feat combos:

This is where things can get entertaining, and where you're going to define your monk. If you find that you want more feat chains than you can stick on a straight monk, you'll need to multiclass to pull off what you're trying. Its better to figure this out now and plan accordingly, than later.

The basic format to this is to list a feat chain in order of increasing specialization. At some point in these chains you're probably going to have to cut yourself off from further advancement, simply from lack of feats.

STUNNING FIST: Stunning Fist, Pain Touch (only works with Stunning Fist). Ability Focus and/or Rapid Stunning and/or Pharoah's Fist and/or Staggering Blow. This will allow you to make excellent, reasonable-DC Stun Attacks (insane DCs with Ki Straps) that will incapacitate for 2 rounds if successful. If you're using Stunning Fist, you should be using Pain Touch. The others are nice but not necessary.

RATTLESNAKE STRIKE: Stunning Fist, Improved Initiative, Rattlesnake Strike. Ability Focus. Virulent Poison. This is a +4 DC attack that does d3 CON. If you can convince your DM to allow Rapid Stunning to work with Stun-variant attacks, then this ability gets a LOT more dangerous, especially if your attacks are Wounding. Tattooed Monks with the Spider tattoo can add to the fun for more CON damage, and a Necklace of Natural Attacks (+1 Wounding or Greater Wounding) can theoretically allow you to hit someone and do 6 CON damage per round.

KARMIC STRIKE: Dodge, Combat Expertise, Karmic Strike. TWF, Imp TWF, Double Hit. This feat alone is worth having 13+ INT. Combining it with Double Hit makes it even sicker.

GRAPPLING BLOCK: Deflect Arrows, Combat Reflexes, Improved Disarm, Combat Expertise, Grappling Block. A great ability unused for its feat requirements, Grappling Block is really nice when combined with Defensive Throw.

DEFENSIVE THROW: Combat Reflexes, Improved Trip, Dodge, Defensive Throw. If you're going to use this ability a lot, invest in Steadfast Boots (AaEG) to stay on your feet.

MOBILITY: Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack. Nice for tactically-oriented monks that have low STR and need to flit about the battlefield. The Cobra Strike style variant (UA) gives you this chain in its entirety, at the expense of Stunning Fist, which you're going to want to use with this chain. Personally, I would recommend boosting your Tumble to a really high rank and not taking three feats to pull off what 1 skill can accomplish.

TRIPPING: Improved Trip, Combat Reflexes. Jotunbrud and/or Hold the Line. Power Attack. If you're going to do this, get Steadfast Boots and a +1 Sweeping Guisarme (even if you aren't proficient with it) - Trip attempts are Touch attacks that the -4 penalty for non-proficiency won't really affect. Taking Combat Reflexes is nice with this so that you can harass all kinds of enemies, and attack them as they stand up later. Hold the Line is there because you occasionally miss an opponent with the guisarme AoO as they charge you - this way, you get a second chance to hit them, opting to decide between unarmed attack Trip (see the Monk class description for all the reasons you can kick without penalty while your hands are full) or Stunning Fist attack (again, executed with the legs). Power Attack is listed since the +4 bonus to hit Prone opponents isn't always needed, making it a fine opportunity to use Power Attack.

WRESTLING: Improved Grapple. Jotunbrud. Hammerblow. Choke Hold and/or Scorpion's Grasp and/or Earth's Embrace. This is tough to pull off well, but lots of people seem to like it, so here it is. Hammerblow is included because a grapple is a prime time to use both your hands, since you can't Flurry in a grapple.

MAGE KILLER: Pursue, Mage Slayer. Pierce Magical Protection. Use of a Reach weapon means you don't need Pursue, but you may suffer a non-proficiency penalty for doing so.

TWO WEAPON FIGHTING: TWF, Imp TWF. Double Hit, Karmic Strike. Deft Opportunist. Not much to say here. You can really beat the hell out of people this way. Works great with Karmic Strike.

LordKiwi started a great thread on Feat Combos here.

Feat choices and combat options:

On Improved Natural Attack: There's some controversy on whether or not a monk can take this. Consult with your DM before assuming its available in your campaign. Sage Advice (Dragon #336 - Undead) ruled that Imp Natural Attack indeed can be taken by monks and increases their unarmed combat damage. w00t.

On Grapples: They stink. In general. Imp Grapple, Choke Hold, Scorpion Grasp (SndS) and Earth's Embrace are okay, but in using them you fail to threaten other areas, you're easier to hit, and you have to make opposed rolls to damage your opponent (or take a -4 to hit unless you have Scorpion Grasp). Essentially, grappling is best left to those that can wear armor spikes and have a high BAB and STR - fighters and barbarians. If you really want to grapple, look for the Stonegrind Wrestling style (Dragon #303) and Komajutsu Wrestling (Dragon #309) - you'll need all the bonuses you can get. As a final note, if you want to play a wrestling Monk, please please avoid the Reaping Mauler. Its a pitiful class. The best grappling PrC is the Justicar (CW). If you're really keen on grappling, start there.

On TWF: According to this thread (containing confirmation from WotC's R & D department) you can take and apply the TWF chain to monks. Problem is that in v3.0 you can't, and it was never explicitly recinded, so you'll probably have to show that thread to your DM in order to convince them.

On Charging: Probably not worth it to dump tons of feats into your charge attacks unless your GM allows Pounce-type abilities to be used in conjunction with charge-boosting feats like Flying Kick, Powerful Charge, Hammer Blow, Power Lunge (SaF/GCS) and Leap Attack (CAd). Then it gets amazingly good. Otherwise, if you want to do damage, I suggest using Improved Trip and then Power Attacking your prone opponent.



Multiclassing is a delicate subject with Monks. First, there's the obvious PHB restrictions on Monk multiclassing (which is removed in OA). Second, a lot of DMs don't like it. Tell them to go back to 2nd edition if they don't like multiclassing.

There are a few core non-spellcasting classes that appear especially tempting: Psychic Warrior, Fighter, Barbarian, and Rogue. With the difficulties in mind, playing a multiclass Monk can be rewarding. Fighter levels and Psychic Warrior levels add precious Feats. Barbarian levels (assuming you take Barbarian by switching alignments after completing taking levels in Monk) is a great choice for Rage and martial weapon proficiencies. Rogue levels offer you more skill points and Sneak Attack, which may be necessary if you're a low STR monk and still want to be able to cause good damage in battle. Just be sure that you understand the full implications of removing Monk levels: less Stun uses, less unarmed damage, less Flurry, etc.

The Spellcaster classes that appeal the most to a multiclass Monk are Wizard and Sorceror, if only for the myriad of useful 1st level arcane spells available. Taking Wizard or Sorceror as a first class before going into Monk is a rough path, though: for the first few levels you'll probably be feeling the regret. Another way to score Enlarge Person is to be a Cleric with the Strength domain, but then you have to buy your scrolls (and divine Enlarge Person scrolls are going to suddenly become rare if you abuse this) or take the Scribe Scroll feat. Of course, a lenient DM will sidestep all this and allow you to purchase a Ring of Enlarge Person (1/day) for the book price of 1200gp; a less-lenient GM will make you take the Ring of Enlarge from Savage Species, with its 18000gp pricetag.

Generally speaking, multiclass your Monk only if you're going to take one of the hybrid Monk-esque PrCs available. There are a lot, and a lot are good, but even more are bad. I wouldn't recommend leaving Monk just because you want a few extra feats or the ability to cast a spell or two: you want to leave Monk because its totally not what you're interested in playing, or you want a LOT of feats, or you're specifically gunning for a PrC. Otherwise, the Monk base class is where you want to spend the majority of your time.

That said, its worth discussing Monk breakpoints.

MONK 2: You've gotten Improved Grapple or Stunning Fist, Combat Reflexes, have +3 to all saves and will always threaten adjacent areas due to your ability to kick the shins of your opponents. A great cherry-pick, but you're not really much of a Monk if you're only taking 2 levels... unless you're a Shou Disciple (see below).

MONK 6: Improved Disarm or Improved Trip, and the slightly better Flurry from level 5. Not the greatest of breakpoints, but the feat makes it worth mentioning. If you're going to take the Shou Disciple PrC, this is a great breakpoint since it allows you to end that PrC with a Greater Flurry.

MONK 11: The Greater Flurry ability. The extra attack is golden.

If you're in Monk greater than 11, you really ought to consider staying all the way.


There are a LOT of PrCs to choose from that augment a Monk's abilities, so like with the Feat section, I'll list them by book.

Unearthed Arcana: HalfOrc Paragon. Gives martial weapon proficiency, Rage 1/day (which can always be boosted by feats later and qualifies you for some otherwise un-Monklike PrCs), and full BAB. At level 3, you get +2 STR. Not a bad choice for a HalfOrc looking to multiclass his Monk.

Unapproachable East: Shou Disciple. This is the most incredible, most versatile Monk PrC available. It drops the pretense of mystical abilities and wholly embraces beating the hell out of things. I can't recommend this class enough to players looking to beat things up while unarmed. It allows you all sorts of ridiculous options, like being able to Flurry with any martial weapon. Where this gets really ridiculous is with the Heavy weapons from Magic of Faerun. See, a Heavy weapon is treated as one size category larger for damage, but it also increases the size of the weapon by a category. Noting that a Gauntlet is a light weapon that is treated as an unarmed strike, a Heavy Gauntlet is a one-handed weapon that does unarmed strike +1 size damage. If you really want to get ridiculous, you can Monkey Grip a Heavy Gauntlet for +2 sizes to unarmed damage. But I digress. This class is great, and has lots of options available for multiclassed builds. Monk 2/Fighter 1/Barbarian (wolf totem)2/Shou Disciple 5 is a favorite. So is Monk 6/Shou Disicple 5. Check the class out, its benefits for only 5 levels are really noteworthy.

Oriental Adventures: Shintao Monk. The Shintao Monk was the first attempt at a non-mytical fighting monk, and its a great one chock-a-block full of Bonus Feat choices. This is an excellent PrC to cherry-pick 4 levels from, though you're going to want to discuss the poverty restriction with your DM. If you have a Vow of Poverty, its great synergy. Otherwise, you can make a good case that if VoP gives you such great perks, surely then the Shintao Monk can't be under the same restrictions. I personally interpret it to mean you can only have what you can carry, without regard for magic items specifically. Your results may vary.

Oriental Adventures: Tattooed Monk. I put this in because it was updated in Dragon #318 and because the one in Complete Warrior is a gimpy class you should never take. The Spider, Crab, White Mask, and Unicorn tattooes are my favorites.

Oriental Adventures: Singh Rager. Four levels of this will set you straight: you want Pounce. This ability is less attractive if you can swing a use-activated Lion's Charge item (Mini Handbook 3rd lvl Druid spell - custom item for 30,000gp).

Oriental Adventures: Henshin Mystic. Worth mentioning because I think its so cool. Not too mechanically strong, but cool.

Oriental Adventures: Shiba Protector (p223). You only want 1 level of this PrC, and it'll add WIS to damage. Nice, but not worth the 3 prereq feats and dumping the Monk class for.

Complete Divine: Sacred Fist. Monk 2/Cleric 4 is the easiest way to qualify for this class. For evil Human Monks, Monk 2/Barbarian 1/Bard 2/Ur Priest 1 is another way to qualify, but your spellcasting is going to drag until around character level 10 or so. There are a lot of other ways to qualify using the Educated (PGtF) feat.

Complete Arcane: Enlightened Fist. Without access to Wraithstrike (Complete Adventurer), this class isn't really worth it: multiple dips into mediocre-BAB classes like Enlightened Fist, Monk and Sorcerer/Wizard add up quick. Of course, making a Touch Attack is easy. However, the class is more caster than anything, which leads me to believe that this thread should have some great nuggets of advice. All in all, any class that has access to Wraithstrike is going to be incredibly overpowered - and classes with high BAB and Power Attack (hint: probably not your Enlightened Fist) are going to do a much better job than those without.

Expanded Psionics Handbook: Fist of Zuoken, WarMind.

When playing a monk, I prefer to design a prestige class that matches what I'm attempting accomplish. I consider the core Monk class a nice attempt but poor execution of what a core class should be - as it is, the final 10 levels of the Monk class might as well be a prestige class anyway, so replacing them with alternate abilities shouldn't present too much difficulty. An example of what I'm talking about can be found HERE, in a class called the Iron Scorpion Monk.



This will only really deal with Monk-specific items. More general items (Ring of Sustenance, Heward's Handy Haversack) you should already be aware of.

Carry a guisarme (or other Reach weapon that allows Trips), especially if you're picking up Improved Trip at level 6. Even if you're not proficient in it and take a -4 penalty to attack rolls, its a Reach weapon and you'll probably have Combat Reflexes at 2nd level. Its a free attack, might as well take it. You can execute unarmed strikes, flurry, and execute Stuns with your knees and elbows - see the description of the monk's unarmed strikes and flurry class abilities. Its especially useful when Tripping because you only have to make a Touch attack, which is pretty easy even with a -4 penalty. If you fail the Trip, you can always drop the weapon that you really didn't need anyway (rather than get counter-Tripped).

The Necklace of Natural Attacks (Savage Species) makes the Amulet of Mighty Fists a laughingstock. I suggest a +1 WrathfulHealing (EaA) Paralyzing (BoED) GhostTouch SureStrike (PGtF) Mettaline amulet. Combine this with Greater Magic Fang + Permanency.

Use a Sparring Dummy of the Masters (from Arms and Equipment).

Monk's Belt. Most useful at lower levels.

Ki Straps (from Sword and Fist).

Gloves of Fearsome Grip (from Sword and Fist).

If you can access it, Dragon #308 has the Fanged Ring. NEVER PASS THIS UP IF YOU CAN GET ONE.

An item (hopefully that can be activated as a Free Action or is Use-Activated by a Charge) that casts Enlarge Person. This will have to be custom, but the spell is 1st level so there's a good chance you can score one.

Specific to the Eberron campaign setting are the Battle Gauntlet (Warforged only) and the Ectoplasmic Fist (psychics only).



The Vow of Poverty is a strong boost to low- to mid-level Monks. You'll enjoy a powerful AC bonus and entertaining resistances throughout. At levels 18+ and beyond, you'll be outgunned and outmaneuvered by every being you're facing.

You should know what you're getting into by taking the Vow of Poverty. Again, these won't come up until higher levels, but you need to be aware of them all the same. You cannot Fly. You cannot cause bodily injury to the Pit Fiends and Balors due to their Damage Reduction keyed to Cold Iron or Silvered weapons (which is a terrible oversight of VoP as far as I'm concerned). You cannot really hope to injure many of the more powerful constructs without adamantine ki strike. You'll always have a 50% miss chance against incorporeal undead. I suppose there are more, but these are the major concerns.

The benefits are pretty powerful. Damage reduction, insane AC bonuses, minor bonuses to various things, and the exalted feats. Great at mid levels, slightly deflating at level 18+.

Here's how I'd stage my exalted feats as a non-human:

4 Nymph's Kiss

6 Sanctified Natural Attack

8 Touch of Golden Ice

10 Sanctified Ki Strike

12 Holy Ki Strike

14 Exalted Spell Resistance

16 Fist of the Heavens

As you can tell, every one of these except Nymph's Kiss gives a direct benefit to combat. You should also consider taking the Vow of Nonviolence and possibly the Vow of Peace, since most everything I can think of that is immune to subdual damage is either undead or a construct, which you can use your regular attacks on anyway, but some players have a problem with always taking prisoners. The bonus +4 to Stun DC is pretty nice, and the Vow of Peace's bonus AC and weapon-shattering skin may just make your Vow of Poverty worth it at extreme levels.

I never actually take Touch of Golden Ice because its a pain having to roll for its effects on every hit, but the benefits are sound. I would take Vow of Nonviolence instead just based on avoiding the annoying mechanic of having to roll for the poison's effects on every hit.

Boost STR, (WIS and CON), and DEX with the attribute bonuses. I put WIS and CON together since it depends on your point spread as to what's best. Your AC should already be ridiculous, but there's little harm in making it even more so is there?



This section is a compilation of the builds that I have made and refined, and are organized by available books. This is section is far from exhaustive! I only included it to show possible builds that illustrate what I hope is a useful, fun, effective design philosophy.

I've avoided giving most of these builds Improved Natural Attack, since I've had some recent troubles convincing DMs that I can do so - their arguments mostly are based around my skill as a player, and not the in-game mechanics (ie., apparently I'm too good with Monks as it is to allow me to take INA).

Consult with your DM about Flaws from Unearthed Arcana, OA Monk feat-swapping, and Monk variant styles. Any of these can make your monk much stronger - you will never have enough feats, so anything that gives you more flexibility with them or slots for them is a very desirable thing.

...before I actually list the examples, I'd like to post links to two great monk-based threads.

1) The Trip Monk-ey of DOOM. This build maximizes unarmed damage and Trippery to an absolutely ludicrous extent. This thread has lots of great general info on how to get more out of your unarmed combat abilities, as well as containing something close to if not at the upper bound of possible unarmed damage. The builds there are incredible, probably too incredible to actually play.

2) Monk Damage. This thread isn't quite as flashy as the other one, but it IS a handy compilation of how to boost unarmed damage. A great reference thread.

Now, for the examples.


With a Core-Only ruleset, you really have a lot of intertia to overcome. A PHB-only Monk lacks a LOT of capabilities introduced later to the game, mostly due to a lack of interesting feats and options. On the upside, at least its a problem shared by all core-only melee classes. This is why in a core-only setting, I recommend multiclassing in order to boost capabilities.

Core-only Fighting Monk

HalfOrc Monk 20

1 Monk Improved Unarmed*, Stunning Fist*, TWF
2 Monk Combat Reflexes*
3 Monk Ability Focus (stunning fist)
6 Monk Improved Trip*, Improved Natural Attack
9 Monk Imp TWF
12 Monk Weapon Focus (unarmed)
15 Monk Power Attack
18 Monk Leadership

Core-only Clever Monk

Halfling Rogue 1/Monk 19

1 Rogue Dodge
2 Monk Improved Unarmed*, Stunning Fist*
3 Monk Combat Reflexes*, Weapon Finesse
6 Monk Mobility
7 Monk Improved Disarm
9 Monk Spring Attack
12 Monk Ability Focus (stunning fist)
15 Monk Weapon Focus (unarmed)
18 Monk Leadership


By having access to a wider range of books, Monks can start to branch out dramatically, mostly due to Complete Warrior. Karmic Strike, Defensive Throw, Pain Touch, and other feats greatly expand a Monk's repetoire and ability to specialize. Its unfortunate that Drunken Masters do not get more Flurry capability, and Tattooed Monk abilities are generally under-par, or else there would be much more interesting class combos to go with the widened feat selection.

Anti-Mage Monk

Human Rogue 1/Fighter 1/Monk 18

1 Rogue Dodge, Mobility
2 Fighter Weapon Finesse
3 Monk Improved Unarmed*, Stunning Fist*, Improved Grapple
4 Monk Combat Reflexes*
6 Monk Mage Slayer
8 Monk Improved Trip*
9 Monk Sidestep
12 Monk Pharoah's Fist
15 Monk Freezing the Lifeblood
18 Monk Rapid Stunning

The idea here is that the Monk wields a Guisarme, and closes with the offending mage. The mage cannot cast on the Defensive, and any attempt to cast a spell provokes the following sequence from you: Trip with Guisarme if at 10', otherwise Grapple. If you succeed on the Trip, you then take a 5' move (Sidestep) and then with your Imp Trip-inspired free attack, you grapple. It forces spellcasters to get nice and close with you, whereupon you can hopefully beat the snot out of them with Stunning Fist attacks. An Occult Slayer can accomplish similar tactics, but this build still retains a vast majority of Monk-ness. I included Pharoah's Fist as a feat since your target may have bodyguards that immediately accost you, and its an easy way to deal with them without taking your focus off of your target. Note that this combo can even beat spellcasters with Mobile Spellcasting this way.

The Interrupter

Human Monk 20

1 Monk Improved Unarmed*, Stunning Fist*, Pharoah's Fist, Dodge
2 Monk Combat Reflexes*
3 Monk Combat Expertise
6 Monk Improved Trip*, Karmic Strike
9 Monk Rapid Stunning
12 Monk Defensive Throw
15 Monk Freezing the Lifeblood
18 Monk (Rapid Stunning or Hold the Line)

By being able to execute multiple Stunning Fist retaliations on Karmic Strikes and Defensive Throws, this Monk attempts to disrupt his enemies' attacks. Pharoah's Fist is useful when surrounded, Stunning Fist when not, and Freeze the Lifeblood at higher levels.


Forgotten Realms is notable really for only two things: Shou Disciples, and the Jotunbrud feat. Hopefully these examples highlight their use.

The Brutalizer

Goliath (patron of Ilmatar) Monk 6/Shou Disciple 5/Divine Champion 4/Occult Slayer 4

1 Monk Improved Unarmed*, Stunning Fist*, TWF
2 Monk Combat Reflexes*
3 Monk Weapon Focus (unarmed)
6 Monk Improved Trip*, Dodge
7 ShouDisciple
8 ShouDisciple Combat Expertise*
9 ShouDisciple Karmic Strike
10 ShouDisciple Power Attack*
11 ShouDisciple
12 DivineChampion Improved TWF
13 DivineChampion Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Heavy weapon)*
15 Divine Champion Double Hit, Improved Initiative*
16 Occult Slayer
18 Occult Slayer Defensive Throw
19 Occult Slayer

As you may notice from level 13, this Goliath uses a pair of oversized (Huge) Gauntlets once hitting level 11, and Huge Golden Gauntlets with a Fanged Ring at 13, doing 6d6 base damage per hit, and simply beats the hell out of opponents. This build gets a lot out of Improved Natural Attack (making it 8d6 per strike) and Flaws (to gain feats earlier).

Bizzaro Monk

Human Fighter 2/Monk 18

1 Fighter Dodge*, Aberrant Blood, Jotunbrud
2 Fighter Combat Expertise*
3 Monk Improved Unarmed*, Improved Grapple*, Inhuman Reach
4 Monk Combat Reflexes*
6 Monk Improved Trip
8 Monk Improved Disarm*
9 Monk Deepspawn
12 Monk Karmic Strike
15 Monk Defensive Throw
18 Monk Starspawn

Not a very powerful build, but still very entertaining. You have 20ft reach with the guisarme you're carrying with your Deepspawn tendrils, and a 10ft reach with your fists. Thats a lot of grappling, tripping, and disarming if you're into that sort of thing. Which this build is. Fitting in Hold the Line would be a nice thing too.


The Oriental Adventures book has a few nuggets of noteworthy mention for monks. The first is that it lifts the restriction on Monk multiclassing, allowing characters to take the class as any other (albeit with the alignment restrictions intact). Second, it contains several Monk PrCs: the Henshin Mystic, Shintao Monk, and Tattooed Monk (not to be confused with the CW version). Third, it contains 2 oddball PrCs that give unique abilities not often replicated: the Singh Rager, a PrC notable in that it can give Monks Rage and the Pounce ability, and the Shapeshifter, who gives Wild Shape to non-druids.

Manyformed Rage of the Shintao

Human Monk 6/Shintao Monk 6/Singh Rager 1/Bear Warrior 1/Shapeshifter 1/Master of Many Forms 2/Warshaper 3

1 Monk Improved Unarmed*, Stunning Fist*, Power Attack, Kiai Shout
2 Monk Combat Reflexes*
3 Monk Improved Sunder
6 Monk Fists of Iron*, Improved Natural Attack
7 Shintao Monk Pain Touch*
9 Shintao Monk Eagle Claw Attack*, Iron Will, [Empty Hand Mastery]
11 Shintao Monk Unbalancing Strike*
12 Singh Rager Alertness, Greater Kiai Shout*
13 Bear Warrior
14 Shapeshifter
15 Warshaper Endurance
16 Master of Many Forms
17 Master of Many Forms [Firbolg Shape]
18 Warshaper ?
19 Warshaper
20 Shintao Monk

Note that this class requires 4 Ranks in Bluff (a cross-class skill) to get Empty Hand Mastery, and 10 ranks in Concentration to qualify for Shapeshifter. In the end, you're executing your unarmed attacks as a (large) Firbolg with +3 size to your attacks thanks to Empty Hand Mastery, a Fanged Ring, Improved Natural Attack and Morphic Weapons (unarmed base: 12d6), Reach of 15', and a 40 STR and 27 CON.


To be honest, I'm not really impressed with the Enlightened Fist. Only by blatant abuse of Wraithstrike and ability draining spells do these guys stand a chance.

Enlightened Wraithstriker

Human Sorcerer 3/Monk 1/Fighter 1/Enlightened Fist 7/Spellsword 1/Eldritch Knight 7

1 Sorcerer Combat Casting, Fell Weaken
2 Fighter TWF*
3 Monk Improved Unarmed*, Stunning Fist*, Power Attack
4 Sorcerer
5 Sorcerer
6 Enlightened Fist Weakening Touch or Sudden Maximize
7 Enlightened Fist
8 Enlightened Fist
9 Enlightened Fist Heighten Spell
10 Enlightened Fist
11 Enlightened Fist
12 Enlightened Fist Extra Stunning
13 Spellsword
14 Eldritch Knight Rapid Stunning* (assuming your WIS is good enough)
15 Eldritch Knight Rapid Stunning
16 Eldritch Knight
17 Eldritch Knight
18 Eldritch Knight Extra Stunning
19 Eldritch Knight
20 Eldritch Knight

This build survives by abusing stat-reducing spells. Weakening Touch + Fell Weaken + Ray of Enfeeblement all on the same strike (or a Sudden Maximized Shivering Touch) make for some deadly capabilities. In fact, you can probably see that I got lazy with feat choices around level 14 for precisely this reason. I assume there may be more appropriate choices... check the Gish thread for more feat options.


Divine spells are great. Righteous Might and Divine Power are beautiful things. This section doesn't include a standard Sacred Fist build, since they're easy: Cleric 4/Monk 2/Sacred Fist 10/Cleric +4 is easy enough to do and pays good dividends. No, I wanted something a bit more oddball.


Human Wizard 3/Monk 1/Swashbuckler 1/Ur-Priest 2/Sacred Fist 2/Enlightened (arcane) Fist 5/Mystic Theurge 6

1 Wizard Scribe Scroll*, Spell Focus (evil), Quicken Spell
2 Wizard
3 Monk Improved Unarmed*, Stunning Fist*, Iron Will
4 Swashbuckler Weapon Finesse*
5 Wizard
6 Ur-Priest Combat Casting
7 Ur-Priest
8 Sacred Fist
9 Sacred Fist Divine Metamagic (quicken)
10 Enlightened Fist
11 Enlightened Fist
12 Enlightened Fist Extra Turning
13 Mystic Theurge
14 Mystic Theurge
15 Mystic Theurge Rapid Stunning
16 Mystic Theurge
17 Mystic Theurge
18 Mystic Theurge Extra Stunning
19 Enlightened Fist
20 Enlightened Fist

Again, anything that touches the Enlightened Fist becomes a caster first and a monk second. However, being able to cast any touch spell from a melee strike, and being able to use multiple slots for Wraithstrike again makes this a tantalizing choice. You can't use Harm with the Enlightened Fist's Arcane Fist ability until 14th level, but its a heck of a doozy when it hits. In the spirit of disclosure, this build has MAD and crappy BAB, but thats the price of being a dual caster with incredible power.

The Wizard can be swapped for Sorcerer, and the general architecture of the first 5 levels is the same. After that, you can always alter what the build does at levels 7+ for another version of the Ur-Fist.


Shining Talriic Scholar
Diamond Disciple of Zuoken






ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: mean liar mean-liar mean_liar meanliar FAQ minmax min/max
In the description of Unbalancing strike, it never mentions a limit on how many times per day you can use it. Does this mean that you can use it as often as you like?
As it stands, yes. My personal errata was to limit it to once per round on any unarmed attack you designate.

There's a reason why my last character fought 2 Humanoids in 9 levels.
can you name some good feats for making a uber grappler?
I've never really paid too much attention to grappling so its hard for me to know where to start. apart from obvious ones like improved grapple, choke hold, and earths embrace? no restriction on material. and any recommendations on PrC's to increase grappling effectiveness?
i know that BAB, size, and str are important in grappling, so knowing that, is it wiser to go human fighter with the jotunbrud feat or like a half ogre [insert class] where i get size and increase in strength?
Is any of your monk builds going to work when 3.5 comes out. I am allowed to use the rumoured 3.5 stuff about monks and change what is needed when it comes out. Not sure if you know what the changes are or not. Anyway, which of those build would be the best one for 3.5
Yes. Fighters make better grapplers than monks, sadly, so your best bet is either a half-ogre or a Jotunbrud human.

I really do hope they rectify that in 3.5e.

grey muse
When v3.5 comes out and I have time to really digest it, I'm going to rework the entire guide. Until then, I'm sticking as-is.

From what I've seen, a basic, no-PrC Monk will probably not change that much. What will determine if these builds are v3.5 compliant or not is if OA monks can still swap bonus feats freely with Martial Arts feats or if they have to take the designated bonus feats.
What is Mantis Leap and where does it come from?
sword and fist, monk-only feat
hey mean in your opinion is it worth it to start out as a githzerai if you are starting at level 1?, or should you just go human monk?
Human, Half-Ogre, Half-Orc, or Dwarf. I prefer Feats and so I usually go with Human, but if you sketch out a build and you don't think you'll need the extra feat or skills, there's no reason to be human.

And there's always the Anthropomorphic Giant Constrictor Yuan-Ti Broodguard.
Wild Elf is probably the best (IMO) choice for a monk, especially if you're going point-buy. +2 Dex -2 Int, all bows, sword, other bonuses...

Wood Elf is good if you're going point-buy, as you get bonuses to two of your most important stats with a penalty to one important and one unimportant one (I statted it out in another thread -- suffice it to say that if you get more points this difference isn't quite as big).

Dwarf is OK -- Hammer Fist won't use UBAB in 3.5 because there won't be any more UBAB, but the extra Con and Darkvision will make it a pretty decent choice.

Half-ogre is really good for a combat-oriented monk. My only gripe is that in order to shine, you should have really uber stats or else you'll end up being comparitively clumsy, dull, etc. than other monks (and a good DM will use that against you as much as he can if he allows a half-ogre monk in his campaign).
I think the 1/2 ogre works out best only ecl 1 for the bonuses it's great...., you know I never realized that the githzerai ac bonus was armor I always thought it was an intertial bonus...
Mean_Liar have you looked at the unapporachable east's monk PrC? It would make for a great FR monk with the ability to flurry with any weapon and +1bab per level but still use -3 interitive attacks.
Hey MeanLiar Do you recommend the Prc from Dragon Magazine...the Enabled hand...I think a disarming build would be pretty cool as well..or do you have one already?If you do let me know..if not maybe we could make one up that would work..unfortunately you need to keep deflect arrows and you need expertise to qualify.....any other feats that increase disarming capabilities?
Originally posted by Cespinar Faywind
Mean_Liar have you looked at the unapporachable east's monk PrC? It would make for a great FR monk with the ability to flurry with any weapon and +1bab per level but still use -3 interitive attacks.

I've seen it, but I don't think its that great for a monk. It seems meant for Fighter/Monks, so that they can Flurry with a Greatsword.

Monks need Diamond Soul, Diamond Body, and high Stun DCs to be Monks, and the Shou Disciple has none of those. By removing the features that make your Monk special, you've become a Fighter with good saves. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you should realize that you're not really a Monk anymore.


Originally posted by kurgaz
Hey MeanLiar Do you recommend the Prc from Dragon Magazine...the Enabled hand...I think a disarming build would be pretty cool as well..or do you have one already?

Disarming is based on BAB, and so if you're going to be disarming it helps to be a Fighter.


Monk 2/Fighter 5/Rogue 1/ANY non-Monk CLASS 1/Devoted Defender 3
(requires access to Oriental Adventures)

Monk1 Improved Unarmed Strike*
Monk1 Dodge*
Monk1 Expertise
Monk1 Improved Disarm
Monk2 Deflect Arrows*
Mnk2/Fgt1 Grappling Block
Mnk2/Fgt1 Combat Reflexes*
Mnk2/Fgt1/Rog1 -
Mnk2/Fgt2/Rog1 Improved Trip*
Mnk2/Fgt3/Rog1 Weapon Focus (Sai)
Mnk2/Fgt4/Rog1 Alertness*
Mnk2/Fgt4/Rog1/Xxx1 -
Mnk2/Fgt4/Rog1/Xxx1/DvD1 Defensive Throw
Mnk2/Fgt4/Rog1/Xxx1/DvD3 -
Mnk2/Fgt4/Rog1/Xxx1/DvD3 Hold the Line

OPTION 1: A character with a sufficient INT can skip over the Rogue1/Other1 levels on the way to Devoted Defender, assuming that the character is willing to spend cross-class skill points on Spot, Sense Motive, and Search (4 Ranks in each, for 24 skill points to be spent cross-class by level 6).

OPTION 2: By taking the Rogue level, you gain access to Spot, Search, and Sense Motive. You needn't take 2 levels of it, and instead could substitute in any class other than Monk for the second Rogue level and as a human still qualify for Devoted Defender, so long as you spent all available skill points on Spot, Search, and Sense Motive. Good options include Cleric for access to Sacred Fist and Barbarian for Rages and Rage-based PrCs; this is a great spot to qualify for various PrCs with requirements like 'Favored Enemy', divine spells, arcane spells, 'ability to Rage', etc.

The build is designed to achieve access to Defensive Throw and Grappling Block as early as possible, without sacrificing access to the Devoted Defender. This is why the Rogue levels come in so late.

Note that in Oriental Adventures, a Sai is a Monk weapon and therefore a Monk can execute a Flurry of Blows with Sai; this eliminates the need for any levels of Ranger to effectively execute an Imp TWF/Ambi attack. As well, the Monk recieves full strength in what would otherwise be off-hand attacks.

This particular character can designate a character as a 'charge', then disarm and nullify any effective hit against himself or the charge as an attack of opportunity; alternatively, the Defender may execute a Trip against any opponent who misses him or the charge.
I should also add if you look at the way deflect arrows is written in the 3.5 section of wizards site it seems like core monk can switch out feats now not just OA. Thats how I saw it at least.
Originally posted by Cespinar Faywind
Mean_Liar have you looked at the unapporachable east's monk PrC? It would make for a great FR monk with the ability to flurry with any weapon and +1bab per level but still use -3 interitive attacks.

Back into the fray onto the new boards...

I'm one of the folks who support this class (Shou Disciple). But I agree with mean_liar that you have to have Diamond feats to really be a "monk".

My build idea was as follows:
Monk 1 - 16 (Char lvl 16)
Shou Disciple 1 - 4 (Char lvl 20)
Monk 17 - 20 (Char lvl 24)

The reason for this byzantine approach was that so you get a UBAB of 16 by the time you hit Char lvl 20. Remember, you don't gain any more UBAB after that (but do gain bonus to hit). So bumping to 16 means having 6 base unarmed hits instead of 5 (ie, flurry for 7 instead of 6).

I advocate returning to Monk after 4 lvls, so you can pick up the Diamond feats (and resume increasing your Stunning capabilities). You eventually hit "perfect self"; just will take 4 levels longer. But you will have more attacks/round in the epic levels, which I feel is worth the relatively short delay. YMMV.
Hey mean_liar I really like you skillful monk build but I also really like the spring attack this build at all viable....or does it just weaken what you are trying to do?

1 Stunning Attack
1 Improved Initiative
1 Dodge
2 Combat Reflexes
3 Weapon Finesse Unarmed
6 Mobility
6 Spring Attack (not sure if you can swap this one or not)
9 Freezing the Lifeblood
12 Death Blow
15 Fists of Iron (Meditation of War Mastery)
18 Unbalancing Strike

If this does not work is there anyway to combine the Freezing/Death Blow style with the Spring Attack Tree?
If you're trying to do the Freeze/Coup combo, you're going to need Expert Tactician.

I suggest doing this with a higher STR and forgoing Weapon Finesse. Of course, this means that you're weaker somewhere else.
me confused. helping a friend make a character.

ex-monk 2/ninja 2

how many stunning attacks does this build have?
2 or 3?

under Stunning Fist, it says a character has one stunning attack per day for every 4 levels attained, so in the case above, 2 for having 2 monk levels +1 for 4 character levels, right? or is it just 2?
Originally posted by goblinhero
how many stunning attacks does this build have?
2 or 3?

Just 2. The stunning fist from the monk class isn't the same as the feat.
Badda Bing Badda Bump

Why aren't any of the FAQ's/Guides being made Sticky?

Hello? WizO folks?
If playing a game in the Forgotten Realm (or if your DM allows Races of Faerun) I have found an Aassimar Monk with race-based feats to work very nicely.

Celestial Bloodline can be picked at 1st level. It will give your monk Protection from Good - 3/day and Bless - 1/day. These are ideal powers that increase a monk's AC and attack.

From there Outsider Wings can be picked at 3rd level. It will give the monk its movement in flight. Not only will you fly, but you will fly fast!

From there Eyes of Light (or something like that) can be picked at 6th level. Your light (daylight in 3.5) ability can be turned into a Searing Light attack - 1/day. This missile attack would complement a monk's abilities nicely.

The above feats, all from Races of Faerun, make a character equally powerful as the more combat oriented feats.

<--- Aassimar Monk :D
Hey mean, what do you think about Shiba Defender? Is it worth a sligh decrease in SR and stunning DC and some feats in exchange for WIS to attack and damage?
Originally posted by Fastbond
Hey mean, what do you think about Shiba Defender? Is it worth a sligh decrease in SR and stunning DC and some feats in exchange for WIS to attack and damage?

Really you're only giving up the 3 feats... the Stun DC and SR decrease is only for 1 level.

So, the question is, is +WIS to hit and damage worth 3 feats?

It depends on what it takes for you to have fun. 3 Feats is a pretty big layout for a monk, but its clear that 3 Feats (any 3 Feats at all) will probably not match +WIS to hit and damage. In general, its worth it. Most of the monk builds in my example section could stand to have 3 Feats trimmed off in the early levels for 1 level of Shiba Protector.

I think Shiba Protector really shines with bonus Feat multiclassing: Monk 2/Fighter 2/Cleric 1/Paladin 1/Sacred Fist 1/Shiba Defender 1/Sacred Fist +7.


revision: no freakin' way. Too many good feats these days, no way I'd give up 3 feats for that class.
Hey mean_liar, are you planning on updating this to 3.5 or are you going to start a new thread?
here a monkbuild i posted some days ago, i think it will be interesting for all you monk lovers ;)

human STR15 DEX14 CONXX INTXX WIS16 CHA13<br /> 01.mnk power attack,sunder<br /> improved unarmed strike*, <br /> stunning attack*<br /> 02.mnk flying kick*<br /> 03.mnk improved grapple<br /> 04.mnk dex+1<br /> 05.mnk <br /> 06.mnk eagle claw attack*,ki-shout<br /> 07.shin fists of iron*<br /> 08.shin wis+1, bluff 4 ranks (empty hand mastery)<br /> 09.shin mantis leap, choke hold*<br /> 10.shin <br /> 11.shin deflect arrows* (mighty works mastery 1)<br /> 12.shin roundabout kick<br /> (foot and fist mastery),WIS+1<br /> 13.shin stunning fist*<br /> 14.shin <br /> 15.shin freezing the lifeblood,<br /> falling star strike* <br /> (meditation of war mastery), <br /> weapon focus (quarter staff)*, <br /> 16.shin WIS+1<br /> 17.hen <br /> 18.hen extra smite ,blind fight*<br /> 19.hen <br /> 20.hen WIS+1

we got:

saves +16/+16/+16
stunning dc: 27
unarmed damage 4d6
speed 90 feet
19 feets

empty hand mastery
mighty works 1 mastery
foot and fist mastery
meditation of war mastery

smite evil 2/day (+4 to hit / +10 damage)
detect evil at will
detect magic 1/day
heals 10hp/hour
scry 1/day
can't be flanked
charm monster 3/day
immune to stunning, sleep and slow effects
improved invisibility 1/day
commune 1/week (no xp costs)

you can be human when you got at least STR15, CHA13, WIS16 and DEX14 as starting stats, otherwise you need aasimar and discard stunning fist and relocate some feats, but the build still works pretty good.

[just to hide the bump]
Mean, I was reading over your recommendations, and a thought occurred to me. Say your monk has three attacks. Why not use the first one to Stun, the second one to Improved Trip, the third to attack? As I understand it, you can designate one of your full-round action attacks to be a Stunning Attack, and you can designate any number of them to be trips. If the guy is stunned, he should be slightly easier to trip, then you get two attacks on a stunned prone target. Then, the guys spends one round to become unstunned, and another round to get up to attack effectively, and by that time you've probably stunned him again.
Add in combat reflexes / expert tactician and you have the complete combo ;o)
I really need to update this stuff after I've digested v3.5

I understand that getting up from prone provokes an Attack of Opportunity? It certainly makes Improved Trip look a lot better...
Bump (because its worth it)
Originally posted by mean_liar
I really need to update this stuff after I've digested v3.5

I don't post here often, but I came here with hopes of reading an updated version. I'll be back! ;)
I'm converting a 3.0 half-orc monk to 3.5. We're basically starting over from 29 point buy, the experience of our old characters (I'm at 52K), and some equipment value chosen by the DM (based loosely on what we have now, on average).

Going vaguely with the Tactician Monk build, limited use of OA. With racial modifiers and 2 stat trainings, I'm looking at:

STR 16
DEX 14
CON 12
WIS 19

1: Dodge / Stunning Fist
2: Combat Reflexes
3: Mobility
6: Spring Attack / Improved Disarm
9: Expert Tactician
12: Pain Touch
15: Unbalancing Strike
18: Freezing the Lifeblood

Carry a +1 defending sai (or +2 if it makes economic sense) and use that for disarm attempts.

Or put less emphasis on disarming and instead carry a +1 vicious ki focus quarterstaff just for heftier spring attack damage.

Monk's belt, ki straps, boots of speed are a no-brainer. Every stat-boosting and AC item I can afford, and potions of Enlarge Person.
Looks okay to me, though Unbalancing Strike is acquired a bit late. You may find by 15th level that there aren't many humanoids around to be hit by it and that your regular Stun Attack DC is high enough to make Unbalancing less desirable.

Something a little more universal may be more effective at that level.
Hmm, I was thinking it'd be helpful against fighter types and all those creatures out there with high fort saves and low reflex. But I see your point.

Maybe Improved Grapple just to have one more way to mess with spellcasters. Or Weapon Focus (unarmed strike) for those times when I do get to flurry. At any rate, I'll get to play the character for 5 levels beforehand so I'll have a pretty good idea of what I need.
Originally posted by mean_liar
Originally posted by Shampoohorn:
I noticed that you haven't written much about what race to choose. Seems like you're assuming human for the feat. What are your thoughts on dwarves and half-orcs as monk races?

Medium or larger-sized races are the best. Both dwarf and half-orc provide good bonuses with essentially negligent penalties, but I don't think that the statistic increases are worth exchanging a feat for. There are just so many useful unarmed combat feats that to exchange a feat for +1 HP/lvl or +1 hit/damage doesn't seem worth it. I wouldn't recommend (on a mechanical basis) any race other than a Large creature, dwarf, half-orc, or human.

Let me start by saying that I'm not interested in a +ECL race.

I've read what you said about the races above, but what do you think of Hobgoblin (+2 DEX, +2 CON, +4 Move Silently) and the Wood Elf (+2 STR, +2 DEX, -2 INT, -2 CON, +2 Listen, +2 Search, +2 Spot) as race selections? Do either of these characters outweigh the extra skillpoints and feat of a human?

Also, if you were to play a Monk character using the standard array of stats (15,14,13,12,10,8), where would you assign the stats?
I think Hobgoblin is +1 ECL by Savage Species.

That leaves Wood Elf. In general, +1 AC isn't worth +1 HP/level. Consider that at best a +1 AC is a reduction of 5% damage (as they hit 5% less); conversely, +1 HP/lvl as a Monk is roughly an additional 10% HP capacity. This means that the +1 AC is best used against opponents with a lot of attacks (more than 2). In general, its not a good trade-off. The bonus STR is nice, though. If you come up with a build and find that you don't need the extra feat, then go Wood Elf.

As for stats, I'd go with WIS/STR/CON/DEX/INT/CHA. The idea here is a tactician monk, primarily. Your stats aren't good enough to expect to be able to overpower your foes.
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