Best monk prestige classes.

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As the tital says, what are the strongest prestige classes for monk? One of my players would like to play monk and asked me for good prestige classes for it. The campaign asks for strong combat oriented PC's. I never looked much into the monk so I dont know, maybe someone could help me out a bit.
It depends what books are allowed and what their concept is... Technically a monk/mage with Enlightened Fist and Abjurant champion is hard to match imo. The monk/cleric/Sacred Fist isn't bad either. The Tashalatora monk 2/ psychic warrior or ardent 18 is also classical if you allow psionics - which imo fits great with the monk's meditative/ki mastery.

For a more purist combat build, I would probably go something like monk 6/ Shou Disciple 5 (Unapproachable East)/ and then get 9 levels in Initiate of the Draconic mysteries, Psionic Fist or Pious Templar. YMMV, but having greater flurry with any martial weapon (why should a monk only be limited to a pseudo-Japanese selection of sub-par weapons) with a choice between decent unarmed damage, minor psionic skills or pseudo-paladinlike casting is a decent choice. Actually, for pure monk unarmed damage goodness, include some Fist of the Forest levels instead of the Shou Disciple ones.
Shaman...you forgot Fist of the Forest.

@OP: this
Yah, sorry, edited it later. BTW, technically I guess I should have added that OA prestige class that added your wis bonus to attack and damage.

Edit: though technically I am not a fan of ToB/monk hybrids for the feeling that ToB swordsages step on the monk's fingers, a monk/initiator can make good use of shadow sun ninja, and the feat that allows them to add their dex modifier to their damage.
Thanks for the quick replies. The player wants to fight with his fists. Im not sure if I will allow psionics, it something we never used before, although I have looked into it... but as you pointed out it does fit the theme.

Also, it might be handy to tell that they will play lawful evil characters, is there any evil monk PrC that is useful? I just thought of something; from nine layers of hell maybe related to dis... 9 levels that giving 9 hellish symbols that can be activated, or give certain bonuses (Cold iron first, activate Hell's Power and alike). Dont know if a monk could fit the hell theme though. What do you guys think?

Thanks for the link dman, its very useful. (ps he actually did mention FotF ;) )
Paladin with the ascetic knight feat
Swordsage. :P
Paladin with the ascetic knight feat

Paladin of Tyranny (Unearthed Arcana) with the ascetic knight feat ;) ? Also iirc Eberron had an armored monk PrC somewhere but my Eberron-fu is kinda weak.

Anyway, LE monks... From my FR days I remember the Monks of the Long Death from PGtF (monk/assassin hybrid PrC) and the Dark Moon monks (I'd say monk/sorcerers with the ascetic mage feat and Enlightened Fist PrC). Why serve some devil when you can serve an evil god or death itself?
Hmmm sounds cool, whats the full name of the book that contains Monk of Long Death?
Unarmed Varient Swordsage, of course. Shou Disciple and Kensai also come to mind.

My current favorite monkish build is Monk 6/Shou Disciple 5/Unarmed Swordsage 4/Master of Nine 5. Greater flurry, 16 BAB, and a bunch of manuevers. Very nice.

JaronK
Hmmm sounds cool, whats the full name of the book that contains Monk of Long Death?

Player's Guide to Faerun, it's the 3.5 update of the FRCS setting book. Remember that dwarven monk from NWN 1? He was one of them.

Mechanically, it's not the most impressive thing imo but a monk/MotLD/assassin can jack up some halfway decent saves. I would use one of the feats that key your monk abilities to intellgence, though - otherwise the multiple-ability dependency may be a bit too much.
My current favorite monkish build is Monk 6/Shou Disciple 5/Unarmed Swordsage 4/Master of Nine 5. Greater flurry, 16 BAB, and a bunch of manuevers. Very nice.

JaronK

Thanks! I think it thats perfect for what he wants to play; a monk with some extra combat options/abilities (thanks maneuvers). I may need to help him a bit with the feats/maneuvers though. Any advice on the order in which you would level those?

EDIT: hmm just checked master of nine, it does have a LOT of feat requirements. Are those really worth it?

@Shaman: hmmm... to bad I dont have access to those books... But the feat for linking int sounds great
My current favorite monkish build is Monk 6/Shou Disciple 5/Unarmed Swordsage 4/Master of Nine 5. Greater flurry, 16 BAB, and a bunch of manuevers. Very nice.

Are you using fractional BAB here? Because iirc Mo9 is medium BAB - which means your build has a BAB of 15.
Here is my take

Classes in order: Swordsage1/Monk4/Swordsage3/Fighter4/Shou Disciple3/Master of the nine 5

Feats in order: Dodge, Weapon Finesse, Adaptive Style, Superior Unarmed Strike, Improved Natural Attack, Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialisation, Weapon Mastery, Improved Initiative, Blind Fight, Snap Kick

BaB 16 and a heap of maneuvers, as well as weapon mastery to help offset the hit penalty (you are flurrying, and snap kicking here...).

Even if you dump strength you will eventually deal rather impressive damage (4d8) before factoring in other modifiers. If you also use giant's stance your damage goes up to 8d6 before any modifiers (likely a +18 from master of the nine).

This may look clumsy and bloated, but it is actually not. You only use 5 sources, of which 2 are mandatory (PHB and MM). Furthermore, your base classes are aligned, so you do not take any multiclassing penalties. everything makes conceptual sense, and the build do not make use of any "tricks".

Magic Rafiq Control Deck [EDH][1vs1][multiplayer] [] Inferno Beatdown [EDH][multiplayer][1vs1][] Gwendlyn Combo/Control Deck [EDH][1vs1][] Merieke Casual Deck [EDH][multiplayer][] Roleplaying Magician class [D&D 3.5]

As the tital says, what are the strongest prestige classes for monk? One of my players would like to play monk and asked me for good prestige classes for it. The campaign asks for strong combat oriented PC's. I never looked much into the monk so I dont know, maybe someone could help me out a bit.

Well, it would depend on what exactly you want the Monk to be good at... but here is some advice you can't go wrong with. The best PrC options for a Monk are: Whatever dman11235 suggests to you. Seriously. The guy knows his Monks.
Thanks! I think it thats perfect for what he wants to play; a monk with some extra combat options/abilities (thanks maneuvers). I may need to help him a bit with the feats/maneuvers though. Any advice on the order in which you would level those?

Due to your high number of attacks, boosts are probably best. Burning Blade, Cloak of Deception, Dancing Mongoose, and so on. For utility, the Shadow Hand teleports are great. Also, White Raven Tactics is always fun.

EDIT: hmm just checked master of nine, it does have a LOT of feat requirements. Are those really worth it?

Try the monk varients from UA that give things like dodge, and don't forget as a monk you have IUS anyway. That makes the requirements much easier to deal with. And yes, it's worth it, as it gives access to Iron Heart Surge and White Raven Tactics.

@Shaman: Yes, I always use fractional BAB. Forgot to mention that. If you're not using that, you sadly won't get to 16 BAB.

JaronK
im a little confused why everyone is under the idea that fist of the forest chnged the dice of the unarmed damage. the ability says:

If your unarmed attack already deals this amount of damage, increase the base damage to the next step indicated on the monk class table.

it doesnt say anything about dice. anywhere ... can somebody explain this to me?
Its a bit complicated. Size potentially changes number of die, because 1d8 increases to 2d6, and 1d10 increases to 2d8. As such, if you get your monk damage up to 1d10 (via for instance Fist of the Forest), and then get size increases twice (or equivalents suchas improved natural attack) you end up with 4d6 (8d6 since a monk usually deal 2d10).

Magic Rafiq Control Deck [EDH][1vs1][multiplayer] [] Inferno Beatdown [EDH][multiplayer][1vs1][] Gwendlyn Combo/Control Deck [EDH][1vs1][] Merieke Casual Deck [EDH][multiplayer][] Roleplaying Magician class [D&D 3.5]

ok. yes i understand that, but FoF doesnt change dice or size. it just says "the next step"

why are people taking that to mean size?

even the example monk for the prc shos she is a monk 6/fof 3 and her dmg is 2d6.

that shows the two step increases from a 6th level monk, on the medium table the base monk does 1d6. with the 2 increases it makes it 1d10 => 2d6.

if the prc granted size increases, she would be doing 3d6 instead.
Thats a very nice build, I also like the fact that it has limited source books. Will probably let him take somethingt allong the lines of that. Good stuff, ty.

Was just wondering one; how does the flurry progress go with this build?
The example...never use the example as "proof", they are often wrong. What it means is that you deal damage to the next step. As in, equivalent to a size increase, as per the table in the monk entry for large/small monks.
The example...never use the example as "proof", they are often wrong. What it means is that you deal damage to the next step. As in, equivalent to a size increase, as per the table in the monk entry for large/small monks.

so you are saying that you get TWO size increases for only 3 levels of this prc?

i must say this is a little surprising. does everyone interpret this in this way?

i thought that it was clear that it meant the actual DAMAGE not size. epecially that it gives the same damage dice progression of a med monk in the class description.
Okay. Fist of the forest isn't technically a monk-specific prestige class, which means that it can't just say "levels in this class stack with your monk levels for determining level-dependent abilities, such as unarmed strike damage and Armor Class bonus." Because you can become a member of this prestige class without being a monk, they have to make the ability useful to non-monks as well. So, basically, what the ability says is, "If your unarmed strike already deals 1d8 damage, increase it to 1d10, because that's the next step in the monk progression. If you already have 1d10 unarmed damage, you get 2d6, etc." It doesn't grant size increases, nor does it even look at the large/small monks table.
Okay. Fist of the forest isn't technically a monk-specific prestige class, which means that it can't just say "levels in this class stack with your monk levels for determining level-dependent abilities, such as unarmed strike damage and Armor Class bonus." Because you can become a member of this prestige class without being a monk, they have to make the ability useful to non-monks as well. So, basically, what the ability says is, "If your unarmed strike already deals 1d8 damage, increase it to 1d10, because that's the next step in the monk progression. If you already have 1d10 unarmed damage, you get 2d6, etc." It doesn't grant size increases, nor does it even look at the large/small monks table.

i agree 100%
Could someone clarify for me how flurry progression goes in such a build as JaronK and unundindur suggested? (Swordsage1/Monk4/Swordsage3/Fighter4/Shou Disciple3/Master of the Nine 5)

Its a rather strange progression. The text says that it uses the highest base attack minus 2. But as the BAB progresses this rule doesnt seem to apply. At 5th level there is no increase in BAB, but FoB does increase. Same goes for 9th level. So, I guess thats how it suppose to work? Rule is: Penalty decreases by 1, up to 0, with every BAB progression skip, or something? When just going monk this is easy due to the table, but when multiclassing how would this progress be done by the rules? Just follow the table even while multiclassing?
Could someone clarify for me how flurry progression goes in such a build as JaronK and unundindur suggested? (Swordsage1/Monk4/Swordsage3/Fighter4/Shou Disciple3/Master of the Nine 5)

Well, mine had 6 levels of Monk and 5 of Shou disciple because Shou Disciple progresses Flurry, as does Monk, making you count as an eleventh level Monk for flurry (meaning you have the best possible flurry).

The build above gives you the flurry of a 7th level Monk, which means -1 to hit. Basically, you'd get normal flurry (-2 to hit) at level 2 (Monk 1) and your flurry would improved to -1 to hit at level 13 (Shou Disciple 1).

If you do my build, you get Greater Flurry at 11, giving no penalty to hit and 2 extra attacks.

JaronK
And, depending on how you read it, flurry in light armor. That might be worth something too - especially as swordsages can already add wis to AC in light armor. Plus, flurrying with a reach weapon can seriously improve your crowd control chances.
Actually you could ditch 2 levels of fighter and replace them with 2 levels of Shou Disciple, right? after 2 levels of fighter, the second 2 levels give 1 bonus feat + full BAB, while the 2 extra levels in Shou Disciple Also gives 1 extra feat plus dodge bonus and increase of damage dice. Both have 1d10 Hit Dice. If you ditch fighter all togather you lose 1 bonus feat compared to all monk plus 1 BAB and the HD10, but you will get full FoB, so JaronK's build makes more sense to me TBH, unless I missed something.
Watch out ofr multiclass penalties... You want your core classes to be within 1 level of each other.

Also, where does it say Shou levels count toward improving flurry of blows? As far as I can read it only says he can use light/martial weapons when flurrying.

Lastly, by not taking 4 levels of fighter you cannot take weapon specialisation, thus nor weapon mastery (which is actually useful due to the high number of attacks and relatively low BaB). Note that weapon specialisation is on the Shou list of feats but still have its usual requirements (Fighter4).

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Watch out ofr multiclass penalties... You want your core classes to be within 1 level of each other.

Also, where does it say Shou levels count toward improving flurry of blows? As far as I can read it only says he can use light/martial weapons when flurrying.

Lastly, by not taking 4 levels of fighter you cannot take weapon specialisation, thus nor weapon mastery (which is actually useful due to the high number of attacks and relatively low BaB). Note that weapon specialisation is on the Shou list of feats but still have its usual requirements (Fighter4).

i wouldnt think that the swordsage variant's unarmed damage would progress with the monk's.

but the shou disciple gets a type of flurry, and its my understanding that it was an editing error that left it out of the class description. so, yes, the flurry levels stack, but its probably gonna be dm's discretion, but since it does progress flurry in its own way, it shouldnt be much of a stretch.

in regards to weapon specilaization, the shou disciple is a 3.0 prc, and the wpn spec feat didnt have the 4th level fighter prereq in 3.0, anyone could take it. so as written you wouldnt need ANY fighter levels at all to take it. the best thing to do would be to remove it's availability as a bonus feat if used in a 3.5 campaign, or simply just allow him to take it sans the fighter levels.
Hmmm, as expacted I missed something . Anyway it is pretty strange to rule (for 3.5) that you need levels in another class to take the bonus feats for this one. So, I agree with sir_argenon on that on.

Below the Shou Disciple table is a sidebar that says that levels stack for unarmed strike, dont believe that those unarmed strike still go in 3.5. But you could change this to count for flurry, would make sense. But still would be some sort of houserule I guess.
You know, it's not like Weapon Specialization is worth a feat slot...

Neither is Melee Weapon Mastery. It's 3 feats for +4 attack/+6 damage. Those feats are better put into things like KNock-down, Martial Stance (thicket of blades), etc.

So it really doesn't matter. But, for the sake of rules being correct, unless you have 4 fighter levels you won't be able to take WS as a bonus feat from SD. Just because it's 3.0 and not updated (that I know of) doesn't mean it gets special treatment. It's part of the reason some 3.0 PrCs, feats, etc tend to have a weird air about them.
Well, if the Shou disciple prestige class has Weapon Specialization as a class bonus feat, it makes sense to me to add in an ability which says "Levels of this class count as levels of fighter for the purposes of qualifying for feats with a specific number of fighter levels as a prerequisite." Or at the very least, allow them to ignore the fighter level prerequisite for Weapon Spec. Of course, that's a houserule, but it's one which makes a lot of sense to me.
Below the Shou Disciple table is a sidebar that says that levels stack for unarmed strike, dont believe that those unarmed strike still go in 3.5. But you could change this to count for flurry, would make sense. But still would be some sort of houserule I guess.

Shou Disciple does say that it stacks with monk special BAB rules, which in 3.5 is in fact flurry, so yeah, it stacks for flurry and for unarmed strike damage. It's in the sidebar on the bottom of page 33.

Also note that if a class gives you a bonus feat, generally that bypasses normal restrictions... Favoured Souls IIRC get Weapon Specialization with their diety's favored weapon, for example. Pious Templars too.

JaronK
Shou Disciple does say that it stacks with monk special BAB rules, which in 3.5 is in fact flurry, so yeah, it stacks for flurry and for unarmed strike damage. It's in the sidebar on the bottom of page 33.

Also note that if a class gives you a bonus feat, generally that bypasses normal restrictions... Favoured Souls IIRC get Weapon Specialization with their diety's favored weapon, for example. Pious Templars too.

JaronK

That's technically not true. Fighters get bonus feats, and in no way do they get to ignore Pre-Reqs.

Now, if a class gives you a FEAT (i.e. you get Dodge at this level), that bypasses feat reqs. But if it's from a list, you still have to meet all pre-reqs (which is why Fighters suffer from MAD). Favored Souls explicitly get the feat...SHou has to choose it, and so meet the reqs, unless specifically told otherwise.

So, taking Weapon Spec would mean you use the latest version of the feat, which requires F/4.

Also, Focus+SPec+Mastery is +3/+4. If you include Greater versions (2 more feats), then it pops to +4/+6. Since you can 'fall into' weapon focus with Swordsage, and Spec is a bonus feat for Shou, taking MWM for +2/+2 is a good deal.

The PrC you are looking for in Eberron is the Argent Fist, and it's a Paladin/Monk Combo. You end up being able to use all Monk abilties while in heavy armor, the ability to use your Lay on Hands to do dmg to stuff while fighting, and some other juicy stuff, while keeping full BAB and able to progress in both classes. Really a nice combo, but, man, you're talking the two most MAD classes in the game. It had best give out something good!

==Aelryinth
Fighter vs Warblade analysis http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19573526/Analyzing_the_Fighter_vs_The_Warblade The Lockdown F/20 iconic build http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19856162/A_little_Lock_build_for_you
Note the qualifier "generally" there Ael. That implies that there are exceptions. Fighter is one of those exceptions. And also note the Jaron was also talking about set feats like FS and Pious Templar.
Although it's not a PrC, I'll suggest that the OP takes a look at Chaos Monk from Dragon 335. IMO, this variant is simply a better Monk -- it replaces useless features with useful ones, and even improves FoB. Plus, it's a good way to make a Barbarian splash viable. Then, add FotF to not lose AC when you rage! Hmmmmmm..... Chaos Monk / Barbarian / Fist of the Forest -- that actually sounds quite tasty!
Already been done, my kung-fu bear. Monk 3/barbarian 2/FotF 3/Bear Warrior 5/Warshaper 4/x 3, try to get Mettle somehow (Pious Templar, Hexblade, Witchslayer all work) to have insane saves, AC, and HP, and evasion+mettle. Then you also have (taking a move action after raging to grow your US) gargantuan level 12 monk damage, 16 with a Monk's Tattoo increased by two more dice sizes.
Well, I haven't played it, but I'm partial to the Monk2/Cleric5/FoF3/Sacred Fist 10. If using a Monk's belt, ends up with 2d10 damage for unarmed, 13th level caster, BAB 17.

Add in a Righteous Might and your Sacred Flame, and you'll be doing average 4d8+22 damage each hit (+/-, depending on stats, items, spells, etc). Seems pretty solid. Throw in an Improved Natural Attack(Unarmed) feat, Power Attack, and maybe a Divine Might (if you have a Cha bonus), and it just gets better.
Note the qualifier "generally" there Ael. That implies that there are exceptions. Fighter is one of those exceptions. And also note the Jaron was also talking about set feats like FS and Pious Templar.

Actually, given how sticky Jaron is over language, he's not referring to a class that gives you set feats...he specifically said 'bonus feat', which implies a feat from a list, ala the Fighter, and you have to qualify for it.

If he'd meant a set feat, ala the Favored Soul's specialization, he'd have said 'gives you a specific feat' or 'gives you a set feat' or 'gives you the feat', even, but not 'gives you a bonus feat', which is specifically associated with the you-need-prereqs rules. The others, falls under the monk rules, which specifically say that you don't.

I.e., unless it says you DON'T need the pre-reqs, you do. That's the standard for feats.

Pretty much every case I've seen where they award feats and you don't have to pay pre-reqs, they very specifically tell you.

===Aelryinth
Fighter vs Warblade analysis http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19573526/Analyzing_the_Fighter_vs_The_Warblade The Lockdown F/20 iconic build http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19856162/A_little_Lock_build_for_you
Ael, please read his post again. He even used those two I stated (in fact, that's why I used those two) as examples.

I will agree that unless it states that you don't need the prereqs you must meet them. However, that was not his statement. His statement was:

Also note that if a class gives you a bonus feat, generally that bypasses normal restrictions

Leaving no mention of method of the result. He never said that it needed to say that you need to meet the prereqs.

Most of the time when a class grants a bonus feat, it's a set bonus feat (going by numbers of classes that grant bonus feats). For the vast majority of these (i.e., I can't think of a time when this is not the case) you need not meet the prereqs. That's where the generally comes from. I also can't think of a time where you have a feat list (ranger doesn't count, I'm counting that as set, even though you choose once which path to take) and you don't need to meet the prereqs.

@Vas: that's some pretty pathetic damage right there. As a monk focused on unarmed damage, you should be shooting for 8d8 minimum. Probably closer to 16d8. That said, the example you gave has unarmed damage of 12d8 with a Fanged Ring, 16d8 with Righteous Might and a Fanged Ring. FR grants you INA, btw. Find a way to grow more to gain more damage (psywar dip?).
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