Just a few days ago, in the Giant In The Playground Forums
, Sir Giacomo, a stalwart defender of the power of monks, posted the guide below to show how monks can beat a Batman wizard. I now submit it to CharOp for analysis. Tear it up, boys.Beating Batman: Sir Giacomo’s Guide to Monks
Making the Most of What you Have (When Casters Believe What They Have Is Already Ridiculously Good)“We need to be enlightened by the OMFGWTFBBQ Ultimate Monk Build”
– SoloI. Introduction
Face it. If you play a non-caster, a monk in particular, chances are that caster players or wizard fans will laugh in your face, try to mop the floor with you and have a chat with a fellow caster while doing it (range: unlimited). Ever since the logicninja’s Batman concept hit the boards (and likely before that), casters and wizards in particular seem to be UBER. More astoundingly, actually, often even the non-casting classes appear to be a way more viable choice for...everything: fighting, scouting, etc.
And, to add insult to injury, it appears as if the 4th edition gave up on monks altogether.
However, this guide is intended to provide some ideas to make monks (and you can easily apply stuff found here to other non-casters) more of a challenge/fun to play throughout all levels. Feel free to add ideas and comments!
Specifically, it can be a guide for, say,
- players, when you play a monk in a party with highly-powered casters – and thus also highly-powered caster oppostion (basically, a proof vs said players kindly asking to play a caster instead lest you spoil their fun)
- DMs, create some npc monk challenges to your caster players
- Overall inspiration to show the monk is definitely balanced with all other core classes
For simplicity and better usability in most campaigns, as well as help for beginning players (as well as my own limited purse to buy rule books), I’ll restrict it to generally available core rules (PHB, DMG, MM, SRD excepting psionics and divine domain rules) – so no celerity combos, timestopped maws of chaos (whatever that is) on the caster side and no belt of extra actions, vows of xy or or feats that push your damage to the colossal lvl 18 monk size by level 9. If you wish to (ab)use all the many great companions out there, you should still be able to use the principles outlined here as a source of ideas.
A great link for monks outside core in particular can be found here… Non-core monk by emeraldstreak
Monk as balanced? Any good at all?Here
is where some of the more heated debates on this subject has happened on these boards.
And for a highly entertaining read, Talic once started a playing thread of a 20th level group with monk played by lord_khaine, barbarian by Worira, sorcerer by Solo (who else?) and cleric by Rachel Lorelei to prove how weak monks are.
Unfortunately, the excercise stopped in the midst of the first serious encounter – up to that point it was unable to prove anything at all. What the thread (and its accompanying rules discussion thread) nicely illustrated, though, was a great many hints how ultra-high-level play might really work.
Will put in more links as I come across them!
Ah, and let us not forget: the monk while focusing on what this class can do greatly (being a bane to casters) should not become an idiot specialist. He/she (for simplicity, and with due respect to the female posters here, I’ll use the male abbreviation henceforth throughout if you forgive me…
has also to fight monsters and other non-casters. While the monk might be ideal to specialise in overcoming magic-reliant opponents (it’s simply a facet of the PHB recommendations of spy, assassin, infiltrator and opportunist combatant), some tricks should help him survive long enough to actually reach that enemy caster through his minions. Or in a caster-rare (not magic-poor!) campaign. Or whatever.
Here it comes…II. The Very Basics of Monkery
As logicninja has immortally put it:
“The traditional adventuring party has four people, filling the roles of Meat-Shield, Skill-Monkey, Heal-*****, and Batman.
You're--as Frank Miller put--the ******* Batman.”
As a monk you’re – as Frank Miller would have paraphrased as well – the ******* Joker!
Relying on tricks and unusual stuff to overcome the physically…er magically stronger Batman. Perform is even a class skill, so you could tell some jokes to entertain your desperate enemies and awestruck adventuring teammates while you squish the casters and face everything else as easily as other non-casters.1. Key Insights on Giamonk strategy (and: what the Joker would say….)
1) “Where does he get those wonderful toys?”
– The Joker
Be prepared for a harsh truth: Magic is cheap in core 3.5. And the “Giamonk” (courtesy Kurald Galain) intends to make full use of it. In that way, he is quite close to the classic gish…
The Batman may think he is special, but in a magic world as envisioned in the core 3.5 rules, everyone will want to have magic. And everyone gets it, thanks to four major goodies for all classes
- fellow pc casting. This is the way assumed by the game (for instance, the enlarge spell has almost no use for the sorcerer or wizard, but it is greatly helpful for fighting characters). In many instances, though, the non-caster or monk needs to be on his own..
- npc casting (this could be helped by, but does not need the leadership feat)
- wealth by level guidelines and thus, permanent magic items
- Use Magic Device (UMD), either cross-class or class. It does not really matter, since the greatest bargains, the wands simulating ALL 1-4 spell levels are safely usable with just a UMD score of +19. And even one rank of UMD and total bonus of +0 will allow you to eventually activate a wand…only a “1” rolled without +19 UMD will mean stopping to use that item for the day, but you could carry several for the same effect, lowering your risk greatly. Wands are the cheapest way for non-casters to obtain non-pc buffs. Based on the usual casting and spell levels of arcane and divine spells, level 1 spells, it is 15 gp per use, for level 2 spells 90 gp, for level 3 spells 225 gp and for level 4 spells 420 gp.
Great level 1-4 spells to get in store (some are range: personal)Spoiler:
Level 1: Enlarge, Cure Lights Wounds, Chill Touch (also helps vs low-level undead; better than shocking grasp due to the STR damage potential), Faerie Fire (great cheap anti-invisibility tactics for all levels), Mage Armour (though you should preferably get that with your 1st level pearl of power from a party arcane caster or npc for longer duration), Bless Weapon (good for improved critical- unarmed strike builds), Obscuring Mist (great cheap low-level control vs missile and spell attacks), Shillelagh (the staff is a monk weapon, so you can flurry with it – and it will deal 3d6+1 damage when you are enlarged, and it counts as a magic weapon)
Level 2: Silence (the poor man’s AMF, remarkably effective). Good hour/lvl buffs are darkvision and false life. Then possibly bull’s strength (for grapple boost) and heroism (from the bard list, lasts 40 minutes then) and ghoul touch (allowing no save vs the parlysis effect)
Basically, for touch attacks at first and second level, chill touch and ghoul touch are the most effective, while shocking grasp and touch of idiocy (possibly shutting down enemy spell casting without a save) are more stylish for a true “Joker”.
Level 3: Fly, Blink
Level 4: Divine Power, Holy Sword
Will update as soon as I get new ideas!
And on the issue of whether partially charged wands are purchasable or not...Spoiler:
DMG p. 199 explicitly allows new players entering the game at a higher level to choose partially charged wands. So choosing partially charged wands for equipment is assumed to happen for pcs in the game.
DMG p. 212-215 outlines how magic items shoudl be handled. At the bottom of page 214 even the process of pricing a partially charged wand is explained and that player characters can of course sell them when having found them in treasures. Now, I wonder, if they can sell them why should they not be able to buy them? Why should there be only a market for new cars, but not for used ones?
The game assumes that characters, at least between adventures in cities of appropriate size can obtain equipment as appropriate by their wbl.
Additionally, while you can for a long while not safely activate a wand in one round (meaning in combat you often cannot use it reasonably), you can still make use of:
- longer-lasting buff spells (10 mins/lvl & up)
- short-lasting buff spells when you have the opportunity to buff up before combat (say, enlarge wand)
- instantaneous spells usable between combat without stress (healing, research)
- touch spells with “holding the charge” use. This is something where the non-casters would even surpass the casters since they 1) have better hitting chances and 2) they most often do not cast spells in between, ending “the charge”.
Some of the great things for a monk using wands:
- you can grapple while using/holding wands (even in both hands)
- you can do all your unarmed strikes while holding wands (even in both hands)
This basically gets you everything you need. For the higher spell levels, either get
- scrolls or
- other casters casting (via npc spellcasters, cohort spellcasters or team member spellcasters).
If all fails, level the playing field, either with AMF or lower-level effects (yes, there are some, see below).
Plus, there are some fairly cheap single spells that can shut down the effects of whole schools of magic:
- mind blank (enchantment, divination)
- true seeing (illusions, excepting the real part of shadow magic)
- death ward (necromancy)
- wall of force (all conjuration/evocation/necromancy/transmutation/phantasm/shadow attacks)
Some of those are available in existing magic items (true seeing, wall of force, death ward), some could be available as custom items (explicit DM’s approval).
Make use of one of the biggest balancing insights of the game: magic is cheap, and can counter magic easily! Batman got the most recent computer technology…eh spell innovation? Well, get the same stuff cheap!So here, in a nutshell, are the two Giamonk principles:
1. Get spells that synergise greatly with the monk abilites
2. Get items that synergise greatly with the monk abilities
2) “And where...and where...is the Batman?”
– The Joker
Some things that will help you in your noble quests to make life miserable for casters:
You have spot and listen as class skills (only the druid on the caster side can compete here). So since ALL casters have no move silently skill, they can try to use invisibility, but at high levels you can still pinpoint them. Before that, simply use see invisibility or cheaper faerie fire wands, which are a bargain when you know that someone is around invisibly (which requires only a simple listen check).
Alternatively, you can make caster life quite tough by simply obscuring their (whatever magically-enhanced) perception abilities, too – it blocks most of what they can do to attack. A simple smokestick does the trick at low levels. Better stuff is available at higher levels (see also the advantaged monkery below in part III.)
It also helps that you will thus not only likely be the one with a surprise round vs casters (and my, does your range for a partial charge extend the higher you rise in level!), You can also often go first in regular rounds as well (if you have good DEX and the improved initiative feat). Against monster manual casters and monsters, you most likely do.
Only at very high levels, when the 9th level foresight spell could be up quite often on the caster side, things will start to get complicated…
3) “And where…and where….is the Joker?”
There is one vital thing about how to survive in combat at all levels for the monk:
Control. The. Encounter.
There are basically two sets of class abilities that let you do it:
- the combination of the skills spot/listen, meaning more likely than not that YOU will surprise the enemy instead of the the other way round.
- the combination of move silently/hide and your superior move skill that lets you move out of the range of the enemy while still keeping close to him , waiting for an opening.
Some wizard fans will fantasise about “casters flying out of range invisibly and raining death from above” while a monk using the same tactics in a different manner is called “fleeing”. You know why. Because it’s what they fear most:
Someone simply waiting out their buffs and spell defenses – and with ranks in Spellcraft as a monk you can actually have a chance to gauge how long that particular buff lasts..
A key insight here is: in the core games, there are hardly any longer-lasting buffs. Fly and invisibility last 1 min/lvl and can thus easily be waited out. While this is in a way sad for a monk using UMD (since most buffs are too short-lived to be of use, and can likewise in some instances be waited out by clever opponents), it is the great chance to fight casters. Note though, that the Joker’s magic spells cannot be recognised when cast with Spellcraft (it’s only an obscure command word), while the spellcasters’ spells can...
4) “You wouldn’t hit a man with glasses, would you?”
– The Joker
For a class which needs to go into melee range (though not to stay for long in classic melee fights until much higher levels), you need to somehow resort to all kinds of tricks to
survive (you are quite similar to the Batman here, only that you have double Hp, better saves, more stealth skills and higher AC and thus have a much better start).
Some basic insights:
- in the beginning in case of a low WIS, you COULD even wear a leather armour for a +2 bonus, since that does not incur any penalties even without the light armour proficiency. And the penalties to your monk ability are negligible. (as yet).
- Otherwise, eventually a monk’s AC bonus with continuously maxed WIS will surpass a full plate +5 (and it is touch AC as well).
- Items and tricks and spells that give concealment and miss chances are good for you as well (since you do not have to rely on sight much with a blind-fighting feat).
Another tactics is to look different. For instance, like a sorcerer, wizard or rogue (basically all who do not normally/necessarily wear armour) or even a usual npc (commoner, adept or expert). You do not even need to disguise, just appear as you are – and let your opponents draw their conclusions and prepare for the wrong challenges. With UMD, you can even wield a magic staff/wand, cast from scrolls and appear to be a spellcaster…er batman.
5) “Haven’t you ever heard about the healing power of laughter?”
– The Joker
One often-overlooked monk ability is self-healing. It appears not that important, but for the usual encounter-fillled adventuring day, it is basically equal to a +4 CON score for hit points compared to other non-healing classes. Throw in CLW wands with your UMD, as well as your high WIS with healing and you can be a solid secondary party healer (who may devote resources for the wands of CLW you carry).2. Monk Myths“Stop the press!”
– The Joker
or: why the heck do so many believe in Monk Suckage?
1) “Don’t even go MAHAHAHAHAAAAD”
– The JokerSpoiler:
Most of the times, you’ll read about a very popular monk myth, the multi ability dependence (MAD). Allegedly, the monk has to have more high stats everywhere than everyone else
True, the monk can make use out of great scores in all his abilites. So can everyone else. No difference. So everyone is MAD (multi ability dependendet), to the same degree. Or no one is. It is that simple.
Examples: a fighter who wishes to be strong in combat and still not a complete klutz for skills nor easy victim to will-based saves (alongside vital spot and listen checks) will need exactly the same amount of high abilities. Even batman who loves “dump stats” and only focuses on INT, DEX and CON will then see there are problems with his low stats in STR (hit by ray of enfeeblement? There goes that spellbook), WIS (oh noes! Enemy maxed casters could target a wizard with WILL saves? Really? And how do I spot/listen my enemies again?), or CHR (enchanters at the very least like this score rather high).
Overall, as for casters using “dump” stats and the like…well, they are the only ones who even NEED certain minimum scores to function at all. The monk can have WIS of 8, or, for that matter, an 8 IN ALL STATS and still use all his class abilities to his heart’s content. You get the idea...
As an aside, the monk’s bonus feats like combat reflexes and improved trip and even improved grapple do not require the minimum stats that other characters need to have. So if there is one of the classes in the core game that has no MAD, it’s the monk.
2) “The monk has no specialty, so at best makes a nice 5th team member” Spoiler:
Here’s a short list of stuff either ONLY the monk can do or can do best in core.
- best grappler (No. of attacks, damage, bonus feat, spc additional effects like stunning fist- Note: FAQ has nerfed to no longer use stunning fist to be possible alongside grapple damage, so use unarmed strike with stun before grapple or in grapple at -4. His medium BAB does not matter much, and he can easily overcome it – see below)
- fastest scout (highest move, spot/listen/move silently/hide as class skills). Combined with the highest movement speed this means the monk has the highest chance of achieving a surprise melee attack.
- best defensive non-spell abilities in the game. Most are still useful once you use Silence and Antimagic Field (AMF) spells to your advantage.
- Highest base damage dice eventually. The full BABers with their martial weapons have power attack and two-handed weapons. The rogue has sneak attack. The monk has the unique power to make use of scaling his base damage (which also gets mutltiplied in a critical btw) with size increases. Weapon damage dies also increase with rising sizes, but 1) the monk achieves the highest base damage dice by level 15 in core with a monk’s belt, 2) the monk is the only one to get his fists enchanted since only his unarmed strikes are considered manufactured weapons and 3) the monk COULD be the one best affected by any morphing spells since he never has to worry about his weapons growing with him in morph, while he also retains all his other abilities like superior saves, SR and move enhancement.
3) “If for any reason the monk uses spells and UMD cross-class he only shows that his own class abilities suck”.Spoiler:
Ahh…the power of synergy. So obvious to me, but apparently so confusing to others. Think about it.
UMD a wand of divine power (you can get a 10-charge wand thereof at 7th level, the moment the cleric gets it). It immediately equals your BAB disadvantage to the full BAB classes, and synergises well with your main lower-level attack: grapple, as your STR score goes through the roof.
But say, batman uses a rod of divine power (assuming he has high enough WIS or CHR, his “dump” stats, to use a divine spell item and even devote part of his skill points to cross-class UMD). Batman would have full BAB, and be stronger by +6 in his STR score. But so what? A wizard has never any real chance for melee combat, since he lacks all other stuff for it (feats, spc. Attacks, hp, AC).
But the Joker does not lack those…
Simply said, the monk is the core class that gets most out of a divine power (even more than the cleric), because he gets the most attacks this way, the item slot of belt can go to monk’s belt instead of a giant strength belt, and compared to a cleric has more combat-related feats.
If you are not among the faint-hearted WoTC designers who recommend playing without it in some campaigns, you could also try polymorph for even more Joker fun: the monk as an unarmed combatant of course makes most use out of a spell that gives him a bigger, nastier form independent of weapons, spell components and armour.
4) “Speaking about magic items: the monk has to get so many, since he is so weak. Amulets of mighty fists alone cost a fortune.” Spoiler:
You actually do not need as many items as the other non-spellcasting classes. Why? Because you have the most special abilities; magical or non-magical, that already do the stuff that items can do.
For instance, you need no (but in many cases you makes still high use of)
- extra saving throw protection (best BASE saves in the game, plus enhancement spell save bonus)
- spell resistance items
- immunity to disease and poison
- healing items
- movement-enhancing items (speed, dimdoor, etheralness, slow fall)
And if someone suggests to you to take the Amulets of might fists, use the last word to smack him over the head for it. Seriously. They are not only expensive, but also block the spot for other valuable amulets like WIS and CON enhancers. And WoTC designers themselves say by now that since the amulet occupies the wrong body slot, they should be cheaper in bracers form.
“The pen is truly mightier than the sword” – The Joker
A good idea is to get either some greater magic weapon of fang effect, and eventually a wand of holy sword with UMD if you desperately need any enhancement bonuses (plus holy damage) to your unarmed strikes. A pearl of power of third level means making most use out of weapon enhancements in extended from a party or npc cleric. Or enhance some of the monk weapons (for instance, a staff, which you could then use later for great synergy with possible power attack, disarm , all in a flurry). If you desperately want to have a permanent enhancement bonus, get a permanencie’d greater magic fang (more expensive, though, than the divine power trick).
Or follow WoTC’s guidelines for custom items and point out to your DM that bracers of mighty fists cost actually LESS than the amulet variant, since the amulet uses a non-combat slot.
5) “The monk is a melee class. So why doesn’t he have full BAB and why can’t he flurry as a standard action? My homebrew monk can do it!”Spoiler:
For the Joker, this is not necessary.
Outside grappling or having stunned an opponent, you do not WANT to go melee for long. Ever. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but the combat abilities of the monk point to a different direction: TOUCH ATTACKS. Grapple. Trip. UMDed rays. Touch spell attacks delivered on top of unarmed strikes. And for touch attacks, you have enough of a BAB, more than the arcane casters, anyway..
And btw in core, there ARE ways to get a move AND a full attack action to hit home your flurry:
- polymorph spells for forms with the pounce ability (many will say that this is overpowered to have for some minutes, but at the same feel no problem with a druid able to do this 24/7., non-dispellable)
- getting a mount that will move/charge for you. As a bonus, you get its attacks (if trained for combat) and you get +1 on the attacking roll for higher ground.
- At high levels, get an intelligent special purpose item with dimension door.
- Or convince your fellow pc caster or an npc hirling/henchman with dimension door to carry you next to the enemy.
- And the grand monk-thing: freeze your opponent in place with a charge and stun. And after that, use full attack (I guess this combo is what the designers had in mind instead of giving the monk the game-breaking ability to do a full attack as a standard action).
And while I’m at it, other alleged weaknesses for “houseruling” and what can be already done within the existing core rules:
Body not enchantable? Get the spells holy sword or greater magic weapon since the monk's unarmed strike are considered manufactured weapons.
Overcome DR? Get Align weapon if you need it, otherwise magic, lawful, and adamantine are yours eventuallly.
More dimension door? Get items that do it. (wand, cape of mountebank), or the horizon walker prestige class.
Gain airwalk? Forget airwalk. Get a flying item (boots of flying for 16,000 are good) and add your movement enhancement bonus on top. Way better than any air walk.
Lose slow fall? Why? It is much underrated. In dungeons (traps etc.) it's golden. Plus, it adds to your movement total.
6 skill points per level? Why? Be human with INT 14 (INT 18 as intended by you). 7 or 9 skill points per level. It can hardly get better.
6) “Hey, I have a great idea: make use the monk’s high move and get him spring attack.”Spoiler:
Don’t do it. IT’S A TRAP! (to use the logicninja mystic theurge analogy).
Seriously. Play one. And look at the fellow monk player who has access to flying after you spent three of your prescious feats to get spring attack. Said monk player simply takes the flyby attack feat and his tumbling class skill. Then cry.
It’s “We deliberately trained him wrong – as a joke…” (Kung Pow) all over again…
Only in some rare circumstances (magic-poor campaigns, highly defensive monk builds, zombie campaigns, campaigns starting at high level without flyby attack feat) the spring attack feat tree could be worthwhile.
Now, after getting rid of these more known monk fallacies, let us move to more advanced stuff and then on to what some on these boards have been looking forward to eagerly…III. Advanced Monkery – The Art of being the Joker“Gentlemen! Let’s broaden our minds”
– The Joker1) The art of grappling:
This is THE casterbane tactics throughout all levels, althoug the advent of freedom of movement at some point means it’s best up to mid-level, and at very high levels, this tactics returns with a vengeance and AMF.
It is also a great general combat tactics, though. And the monk excels at it.
At low level, it makes a lack of armour and your inferior starting damage dice obsolete, since you lower your opponent damage potential to a mere 1d3 starting damage dice (possibly non-lethal), and TH weapons and power attack of opponents are nullified (power attack is not applicable in a grapple!). Not to mention that a grappled caster is reduced to spells with only vocal components (not that many below dimension door leverl) or, with two successful grapple checks and pinned, the caster cannot do any more spells – barring some still, silent feat prepared spells. But hardly any casters will 1) even have those feats and 2) have it prepared at the time of your attack.
You can also use your higher number of grapple attempts (flurry) to pin and force opponent to waste their highest grapple check to escape the pin. You can move with your opponent through squares threatened by your allies and have fun watching him get x AoO (more AoO with combat reflexing allies).
The major objection to grappling may be that big and strong creatures hit the scene quite quickly (CR 3 & up). There are two caveats to this, though:
- until the mid-levels MOST creatures you encounter you either can still grapple since your grapple check mostly exceeds theirs (and do not forget, if you are, say, level 6, you will not always fight single CR 6 creatures, but more often the CR 2-4 kind in greater numbers alongside the party in one-on-one combat. Plus, your main prey- casters- usually have only freedom of movement as means to foil you – and this only through divine casting (assassin prestige class a rare exception here).
- the big and strong creatures of the earlier levels are exactly that: big and strong. But have few other abilities and no brain to speak of. Animals and vermin or huge zombies/skeletons may be outsmarted quite well.
Then, the issue of: freedom of movement. The permanent item profiding it is only available at the earliest at level 16 with ¼ wbl (DMG recommendation for pcs). The wand is available earlier though, but like the ring, you could disarm it away (grab an item option). That leaves the (divine) spellcasting. Even though monsters mostly do not have the spell up, casters will – sometimes. Try to win initiative before the FOM is up. Or, recognise it with spellcraft and then wait out the buff (i.e. retreat , hide, and strike when spell is over. Few casters have prepared it several times).2) D-Fense, Part II
A monk has good defenses, but less offensive powers until later levels (when the no. of attacks and monk’s belt really provide great damage output). How to turn good defense into offensive use?
By creating a combat environment that favours the monk who has a particular kind of immunity that others don’t have!
For instance, centre fireballs on yourself in the midst of overwhelming odds surrounding you (with necklace item) and (improved) evasion the damage away. Or grapple an opponent and let your party wizard fireball you and the opponent. Use poison once you are immune to it yourself. Create situations where weapons do not help much (say, tight quarters). Sight is not as important to you as it is for spellcasters (you can even throw shuriken into pinpointed areas with listen). Use your immunity to disease vs, say, an enemy camp by spreading some disease the day before you attack (some diseases even cause WIS and INT loss, or deplete their CON to soften them up vs your stunning fists attacks). Think the “Flesh and Blood” movie. Be creative3) Prestige classes and multi-classing
Well, there some possible prestige classes in core for the monk. Where then are good departing points (meaning departing for good, since a monk may not lose his class abilities getting to another class or turning non-lawful, but they can never return).?
At lvl 1,2,6: have most bonus feats without ability requirements as possible. Possibly interesting for special fighter builds.
At lvl 11: you just received your 2nd flurry attack. Get full BAB with divine power and thus have most attacks per round. Or wait for level 12 to grab the supernatural dimension door. You can use that ability even when paralysed – it’s a great escape pod for all levels.
At lvl 15: with a monk’s belt you have reached the highest possible unarmed damage.
Good prestige classes reinforcing the roles meant by PHB for the monk (spy, infiltrator, assassin, scout, opportunist combatant) and also good vs casters in general are
- Duelist (get INT to AC, unarmed strike can be considered weapon in only one hand, you get great boosts to your initiative which is vital vs casters)
- shadowdancer (hide in plain sight)
- Horizon walker (for dimension door every 1d4 rounds, a rare competence bonus to listen, etc.)
- Assassin prestige class
I also like a combo of dragon disciple for the STR stat boosts and tremorsense, and possibly fying ability (the monk has knowledge arcane as class skill!) , with a 1+-level dip in assassin to get the spontaneous arcane casting ability. The assassin also gets you wand access to all assassin spells, even without UMD.
For instance, monk 15/assassin 1/dragon disciple 4
This build would add +1d6 sneak, death attack, poison use, a 1 first level spell (could be true strike), access to assassin spell wands, +4 STR, claw and bite attacks in addition to monk unarmed strikes, Bonus to natural AC. This would replace the monk abilites of lvl 16-20 of: etheralness rounds/lvl/day, continuos non-magical tongues, outsider status for magical effects, ageing immunity to physical stats.
Note that you lose out on Spell Resistance and quivering palm DC with any multi-classing – and you cannot return to the monk class.4) “I have given a name to my pain. It is Batman.” – The Joker
Basically, what would hurt casters most?
Not being able to affect the monk with their magic/effect any magic at all. This can be accomplished by
- blocking their somatic components (grappling)
- blocking their material components (disarming)
- blocking their vocal components (grappling, using silence spell effect)
- blocking all actions (stunning)
- blocking their line of sight (blinding, obscuring vision)
- blocking their line of effect (force effects, use of full cover)
- blocking their area effects (evasion, improved evasion)
- blocking their range (fast moving out of range. Great vs summons and the usual temporary buffs that you recognised before with Spellcraft)
- blocking their refreshment methods (attacking during prayer, learning, disrupting sleep etc.)
- blocking all magic (Anti-magic-field, spell resistance, saving throws, certain force effects; although recent magic item compendium rules which can be seen to update the core rules appear to have AMF no longer block line of effect for magic – courtesy Lord_Silvanos. It is irrelevant for the AMF grappling tactics, though.).
Normally stopping the spells/spellcasting of a caster means almost certain win. A cleric has some decent fighting abilty, but without spells even (or rather, in particular with) heavy armour will be no match in combat for a monk.
Of all the casters the monk can go against, druid is the toughest one. The reason is straightforward: most skill points of full casters (not counting the bard here) and many useful non-spell abilities besides.
In particular the monk can get trouble due to the animal companion protecting the druid (if it is the large kind and not the one with more abilities), and his spells providing most of the powers of the other full casters at high levels (and lower levels besides). As for the usual wildshaping zilla druid – just point out to your DM that most likely polymorph is banned and thus, the druid should likewise not be able to get this kind of superior combat boost (24/7, at that!).
At high levels, a druid hit by an AMF will, of course, also crumble, but before that – what can a monk do in addition to the stuff above (i.e. obstructing the druid spells)?
- use hide from animals effects (50 uses in wand for 750 gp only). This negates the animal companion until you have reached and managed to grapple the druid.
- Note that your eversmoking bottle stealth mid-level tactics work not that well vs a druid, since the druid can summon air elmentals spontaneously that will whirlwind your smoke away AND they are the only class (apart from air domain clerics) to cast control winds.
For those batmen retreating to a MMM or tower (abandoning adventuring) the Joker would only say:“I'm givin' away free money, and where is the Batman? He's at home washing his tights!”
For the rest of the guide, and the storm that occurred, just look here:http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80704
PS: I claim no responsibility over this guide. 'Tis not mine, I'm but a messenger who submits it to CharOp to see it crushed like it should be because it's idiotic.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).