All powers have been updated to PHB 3, now working on the feats section!
The Monk. The wire-fu, ha-do-ken, I-can-kill-you-with-my-bare-hands Monk. If this was your conception of Monk, the psionic power source shouldn't faze you at all. If however, you thought the Ki power source was still "tenable" you might be a little upset about the Monk being lumped in with the science-fictiony powers. I played a couple of Monks in 3e, one all the way to 20th and one to 16th, and I always played them as being firmly set in a fantasy world, so the psionic conception was not at all a problem for me. I'm pretty excited about this new Monk aside from a couple of things I'll miss (No d20 for unarmed damage? Booo!), so with out any further ado, let's check it out.
The 4e Monk has a number of neat things going for it, and a number of confusing issues surrounding it, the most relevant one being the "weapon-as-implement" issue. I'll try to call out the confusion where I can. Right now this guide is set up to deal with the Centered Breath Monk. It's the only build we have, but I'll try to conservatively speculate about the usefulness of things given that we know the other build has a Strength secondary.
In terms of evaluating powers, I'm going to tell you how I'm doing it so you understand what I'm basing most of my decisions on. As Monks are Strikers, it makes the most sense to compare their powers to other Strikers. The Rogue and Sorcerer are, in my estimation, the closest cousins of the Monk in terms of mechanics. In particular, the Centered Breath Monk seems like it's minoring or even double majoring in Controller, much more like a Sorcerer. A lot the powers we're seeing have a strong focus on forced movement and dealing damage to multiple targets instead of lumping damage on one target.
This is my second foray into hand-booking, so I'm bound to make mistakes. I will do my best to correct and update as I am able. Please let me know about anything that would make this guide better. Also, dissenting opinions very welcome! Please let me know if you have a different idea about something!
Ratings Gold - Must have choices. Basically anything that could qualify as a feat tax. You almost don't have a choice. This can also cover options that have serious abuse potential. (ala pre-3/10 Bloodpulse) Sky blue - Exceptionally strong, potentially over powered choice. Things rated this color will show up in most builds and may be abusable. Blue - Solid choice. Not noticably over-powered, but could be your best choice at a particular level. Black - Baseline, or an otherwise good power with a noticable drawback. Optimizers will try to avoid these, but in most games you won't notice a discrepancy in power level if you go with this choice. Magenta - Somewhat underpowered, or very situational. These choices won't show up in most builds. If you take these powers, you may notice a power level discrepancy in even casual gaming groups. Red - Either totally overshadowed by another option, or just completely bad. These kinds of choices are generally avoided even by first-timers and need a re-write.
This Handbook Covers the Following Sources: PHB - Player's Handbook MM - Monster Manual AV - Adventurer's Vault AV2 - Adventurer's Vault 2 FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide MP - Martial Power PHB2 - Player's Handbook 2 PHB3 - Player's Handbook 3 AP - Arcane Power EPG - Eberron Player's Guide DP - Divine Power DDI - Dungeons and Dragons Insider
LDB - Inventor of this format. He paved the way for many people to make meaningful contributions to the board. IRC channel ##4e - Great ideas coming from that room. If you haven't been there yet, you should definitely check it out.
Getting Started: Overview, Ability Scores, and Races
HP, Surges, Defenses and Proficiencies HP - Your HP isn't great and you're going to be a melee striker with Con as a tertiary at best. You're in the same territory as Ranger and Rogue. You'll probably want to take Toughness at some point. Surges - Again, baseline. Same as most other strikers. Proficiencies - You get cloth, and a bunch of simple weapons and shuriken. Yep, it sucks. Fortunately your weapons ONLY matter for basic attacks. Defenses - +1 to all your NADs. Very Monk like. In addition, both of your class features grant a scaling bonus to your "off-stat" defense. Your NADs will be very strong. Features Unarmed Combatant - Your fists turn into a blunt longsword. Good for you. This is black now, but hopefully, this fluffy choice will become better once we have some feat support. And no, increasing this to a d10 doesn't count. Unarmored Defense - This is your consolation prize for not being able to use class features while in leather. It brings you up to baseline for Rogue, and a single feat pushes you past an archer Ranger. Nice.
Monastic Tradition - This feature determines the nature of your flurry of blows and your secondary stat. No matter which Tradition you go with, keep in mind that your flurry of blows triggers when you hit. This is very important for getting your bonus damage before pushes and any other effect that moves you away from your target.
Centered Breath - You gain a scaling bonus to your off stat defense. Nice. You also gain a 2+ your Wisdom damage that you can apply to any adjacent target when you hit, and then slide that target 1 to a square adjacent to you. If the target wasn't the original target you can slide it 1 to any square you want. At paragon you get an extra target and at epic it's all adjacent enemies. At heroic tier, this puts Monk ahead of Ranger and Sorcerer for single target extra damage. At paragon, Rogues and Rangers have better single target damage and Sorcerers have better multi target damage, because they can do it at greater range for consistently more targets. At epic, Sorcerers are doing more baseline damage. That being said, I think that the slide is probably more useful than the extra damage. For a single heroic feat, Deadly Draw, you can maintain combat advantage against your main target very effectively.
Stone Fist – As mentioned, you gain a scaling bonus to your off stat defense, this case Will. You also gain a 3+ your Strength damage that you can apply to any adjacent target when you hit. If the target wasn't the original target you deal an extra 2 damage which scales to 4 and 6 at paragon and epic respectively. As per Centered Breath at paragon you get an extra target and at epic it's all adjacent enemies. At heroic tier, this puts Monk ahead of Ranger and Sorcerer and on par with Rogue for single target extra damage. Again, at later tiers the other strikers pull ahead, but read on for a couple of ways Monks can use feats to level the playing field.
The Pointed Step Style feat lets you deal your flurry damage to one target two squares away, this makes Monk a very strong minion murderer. At paragon the Starblade Flurry feat can extend this to 5 squares.
Ability Scores Strength - Secondary stat for Stone Fist Tradition. There are several reasons to build with Strength, better Opportunity Attacks and Athletics checks for one. Constitution - As a striker you still want this decent, it's not dump. Dexterity - This is EVERYTHING. It is both your main defense and main offense. As well as being your Reflex, Initiative, and some nice Dex skills. You want this as high as possible. This is one of the cases where taking the full 18 before racials is not a bad idea. Intelligence - Nothing you do is based on it. It's a dump. Wisdom - The secondary stat for Centered Breath, and syncs up nicely with a couple of good skills. At Paragon and higher, some of the nastiest status attacks target Will and you'll be glad this is a strong defense. Charisma - Nothing you do with it helps you. Dump stat.
Class Skills Acrobatics- You're already going to be good at this, but if you want to be even better, train it up. Best used for escaping from grabs. Athletics - Anything that helps with mobility is something you want. This helps, ergo you want it. The Strength build will be awesome at this. Diplomacy - Like Chuck Norris, you let your roundhouses do the talking. Endurance - Dependant upon your campaign, but being able to train this up is nice. Heal - Centered Breath Monks will be good at this, but your job is giving ouchies, not patching them up. Insight - Nice if you don't like being bluffed. Also usually useful in skill challenges. Perception- As one of the classes that can train Perception, you're going to want to, it's pretty much the most useful skill in day to day adventuring. Religion- It's based on an off stat, but it opens up the Radiant Fist PP. If you have room I would try and get this from a Multiclass feat instead. Stealth - If you train in it, you'll be as good as the Rogue. Thievery - See Stealth. Train this, perception and stealth and you are the trap monkey. Who needs the Rogue?
Non-Class Skills Arcana- I don't know what Psionic knowledge will be based on, I'm betting it will be this or Dungeoneering. Either way, training this skill wouldn't be a bad idea, but since it's based on a dump don't go out of your way to do it. Bluff - You are the soul of honor, or something like that. Not your job, and you ain't good at it anyway. Dungeoneering - Based on a potential secondary, good, but not essential by any means. History - History is knowing who the last person you beat up was. Intimidate - It's based on a dump so you'll never get the best use of it. Leave it alone. Nature - Based on a centered breath secondary, so it will be fine without too much effort. Same advice as Dungeoneering , nice but not essential. Streetwise - You grew up cloistered, not on the street.
Races, PHB Dragonborn - They have a stat bonus to a potential secondary, and will be able to use Draconic Arogance to generate some extra damage with pushes and knockdowns. A second stat bonus to a dump keeps them from serious contention outside of a fighter multiclass. Dwarf - No Dexterity bonus keeps them from being better, but everything else about them is win. Even their slower speed doesn't matter as much because of the constant speed boost you'll have access to. Eladrin - Primary stat bonus is way nice, a great mobility power and even the ablility to gain a nice damage boost with spears which are included in monk weapons. The Int bonus doesn't help at all though. Elf - Great. You'll be the fastest thing on the battlefield. Stats in the right place, ability to shift into difficult terrain, decent skill bonuses, and an awesome power makes the Elven Monk a powerhouse. Elf isn't the race you think about when you imagine a Monk, but that will change. Half-Elf - Dilettante keeps them somewhat relevant, but other than that they don't work out too well. Turns black or even blue with the right Dilettante Power. Halfling - Being small doesn't really affect you that badly here. Your damage doesn't go down and you have a nice defensive power. A bonus to a dump keeps them from being 100% optimal though. Human - Extra feat, skill, and at-will, and a nice defense boost. All-around good stuff. The extra at-will should either be Dragon tail or Crane wings. Tiefling - Nope.
Races, PHB2 Deva - They get a wisdom bonus, and a couple of neat feats, but there are better races. I do love their fluff as it applies to Monk though. Gnome - Dump stat bonuses? No thanks. Goliath - A Goliath might be interesting, but even with a stat bonus to a secondary you'd have to struggle to make it work. Half-Orc - Bonus to primary and secondary is totally welcome, and the extra damage, charge distance and temp HP will not go amiss. Razor Claw Shifter - Doesn't have the Feat support of Elf or even Githzerai but still very good choice. When you're bloodied, you are the Flash, easily achieving a speed of 10 at first level. Longtooth Shifter - Can go either way, they have stat bonuses to both secondaries. A good Wisdom score won't go amiss in the Strength build.
Races, PHB3 Githzerai - Might be THE choice for Centered Breath Monks if for nothing else than Githzerai Mobility and Zuoken's Centering. Minotaur - They make better barbarians. Not very Monkish. But You can get a stat boost to either off stat. Shardmind - They have access to the same stat bonuses as Deva, so they're iffy at best. Wilden - They have the stats to pull off a strong Centered Breath Monk, but most of their feats have more of a primal flavor. A multiclassesed Monk/Druid might be fun...
Other Races Bladeling(MP) - Stat bonuses are right on for Centered Breath, and the power is super sweet for putting out more damage. But lack of feat support leave this as Blue. Bugbear(MM) - How they haven't been hit with the Nerf bat yet is beyond me. Same stat array as half-orcs but the Oversized weapon property doesn't even help them here. Bullywug(MM) - Who remembers Froglok Monks from EQ? Prime stat buff and some HP don't make up for no feats and a massive fail of a racial power. Changeling(EPG) - Same stats as Halfing, but less feat support, and their racial isn't terribly useful. Their racial at-will might actually see more use when you don't have to carry a weapon though... Drow(FRPG) - Primary stat bonus, and they might have some neat things to do with hand crossbows in the off hand. Duergar(MM2) - A secondary bonus. Pretty much nothing else. Genasi(FRPG) - Secondary stat bonus only, but their powers are actually pretty nice for a Monk. Githyanki (PH3) - Off stats. Not much else here. Gnoll(MM) - Prime stat buff and a high speed are both nice for Monks, but there's just not much else going for them. If you really dig the flavor, go for it, but you won't be winning any DPR contests. Goblin(MM) - Prime stat buff and nice at-will still don't make them that interesting. Hobgoblin(MM) - Two off stats. No thanks. Kalashtar(EB) - Secondary and a dump bonus and they're on the same defense. Even the heavy psionic flavored feats don't help much. Kenku(MM) - Prime stat buff and a decent racial ability. Lack of feats keep them from being as good as halflings. Kobold(MM) - I might catch some crap for rating them blue, but their off stat buff is more useful than Charisma, and their racial power rocks for mobility. Plus you're a Kobold Monk. Orc(MM) - Goliath sans feat support. Nice racial power though. Revenant(DDI) - Prime stat buff and what ever racial background you want? Pretty nice. Shadar Kai(DDI) - See Eladrin for the most part, though they have a couple of interesting feat choices. A spiked chain focused monk could be pretty cool. Warforged(EPG) - There's something cool about a Warforged Monk, unfortunately they only get a bonus to an off stat. However, the ablility to be armed with other weapons without holding them is pretty nice for a monk.
A Note on Powers, or “Full Discipline? What’s that?” As you’ll notice, Monk at-will and encounter powers have a new keyword: Full Discipline. Full Discipline powers operate a little differently than other powers in that they have both a Standard Action and a Move Action power (called a Movement Technique) wrapped up in one power. Seems simple, but there are a couple of things that need explaining. First, when you use any part of a Full Discipline power you are “locked in” to that Full Discipline. You can’t use a Standard Action from one Full Discipline power and the Movement Technique from a different Full Discipline power in the same round. Second, if you spend part of a Full Discipline power, you spend all of it. If you only use the Movement Technique or Standard Action from an encounter Full Discipline power, you can’t save the rest of it for later. If you use the Movement Technique portion, it is used up, you can’t use it again that round. Third, at-will power can be used as often as you want. You can use the Movement Technique twice in a round if you choose. Thus, the at-will powers you choose matter more for this reason. Fourth, Action Points “reset” Full Disciplines. You can use any portion of a Full Discipline power on an Action Point, even if you used a different Full Discipline power on your normal turn.
Also, I want to point out that no Monk Powers require a class feature to get a rider effect. For example, if you chose Stone Fist Tradition you can still benefit from powers with a Wisdom rider as long as you have a positive Wisdom score. If you want to have a Monk that balances Strength and Wisdom, it won't be optimal, but you can make it work.
Level 1, At-will Crane’s Wings (PHB3) – The attack portion of this power is pretty standard. Attacks Fort and adds a push, Dragonborn will want this for Draconic Arrogance, but the Movement Technique is quite strong. It a allows a running jump check with a +5 on the roll which is great for avoiding hazardous or difficult terrain, if you trained in this you clear 2 squares without even rolling. Keep in-mind that when you hit with an attack that pushes, you need toapply your flurry of blowswhen you hit, but before you do damage or any other effects. Dancing Cobra(Centered Breath) (PHB3) – Good damage and it also adds a second stat to damage if you provoke an OA from the target. And taking into account that the movement power increases your speed by 2 this should probably show up in most Centered Breath builds. Dragon’s Tail (PHB3) – The attack portion of this power is pretty nice. An at-will knockdown is pretty strong even if it does attack Fort. But the Movement Technique is kind of lackluster. Five Storms (PHB3) – Close burst 1 at-will. Targets only enemies and does decent damage. Not to mention that it the Movement Technique lets you shift 2 as a move. However! Be aware that when you use this you likely won't get to use your extra rider effect from flurry of blows, the extra damage from Stone Fist or the any direction slide from Centered Breath because you targeted all adjacent targets.
Level 1, Encounter Awaken the Slumbering Hurt (PHB3) – Decent damage, and if bloodied you add Strength to this attack AND your next one. But chances are you might not get the second bonus if your party focuses fire. Movement technique is not amazing. Drunken Monkey (PHB3) – The damage output of this power is heavily dependent on the kind of things you’re fighting. The Movement Technique is really good though, and it attacks Will. This power actually becomes better and better as you gain levels. Even at mid paragon you find enemies that deal 2d8+ damage with a basic attack. If the party has high damage defender (like a 2H Fighter, Hammer Warden, etc.). The Enemy can be hit (then flurried), slid, attack himself, and then if marked, (provoke) another attack by the defender. Thanks to Praedoran for pointing this out. Open the Gates of Battle (PHB3) –A level 1 encounter power that does 3d10 is pretty nice. The Movement Technique is good for circling around. Rising Storm (PHB3) – Synergies very nicely with Mark of Storm, and also spreads out your secondary stat at heroic tier. The movement technique lets you fly, which is fairly rare this early in the game.
Level 1, Daily Harmonious Thunder (PHB3) Double attack that works very well with Mark of Storm. The effect is insane however. As currently written, it will auto gib one of the targets on the next hit since the damage bounces till one thing dies. I want to point out that even though the wording is pretty unambiguous, the intent of this power probably does not include a once per day instant kill. Most DMs will see this power work once and then house rule it, but for the purposes of hard RAW it's probably the best power in the game right now. This will almost certainly be nerfed. Masterful Spiral (PHB3) This power can hit a lot of enemies at this level for pretty respectable damage. The Effect stance really pushes this over the edge to awesome. Keep in mind: Flurry is melee 1 not melee touch, this daily does not apply to it. It's still well worth taking however. Spinning Leopard Maneuver (PHB3) This power is very similar to Masterful Spiral, it attacks the same defense for the same damage, and can potentially target more enemies. Only reason it's blue is because it lacks the stance effect of Masterful Spiral. If you have a high speed, or ability to shift more or better, this could easily be Sky Blue Whirling Mantis Step (PHB3) – Here’s a power that lets you clump up a bunch of enemies and then whack them all for 2d10 and slow. Great set up for AoE blasters in your party.
Level 2, Utility Careful Stride (PHB3) – Ignore difficult terrain and liquid for a move. Considering you probably have a decent if not great athletics check, you can jump over most difficult terrain with no problem. So this power is pretty situational. Harmonious Discipline (Centered Breath) (PHB3) – Temp HP and when you run through them you add that same amount to damage. Really nice. Fun to set this up, use Dancing Cobra to provoke, get hit, and then attack for 1d10+Dex+Wis+Wis+Wis damage. Grasp the Wind (PHB3) – Turn forced movement into voluntary shift. Not amazing, but quite nice. Since it's an interrupt, you might be able to prevent certain monster attacks with this power. Supreme Flurry (PHB3) – Once per day, you get to apply your Flurry again after a shift. It's alright, and since you likely didn't target any of the targets of this power with your initial power, you get the flurry rider bonuses. Oddly enough, this power gets very attractive at Epic. But at heroic, it's meh.
Level 3, Encounter Dance of Swords (PHB3) – Decent base damage that will deal at least an extra 2 damage and up to extra 16 if you’re totally mobbed. The Movement Technique isn’t that great. Turns blue if you have a way to avoid OAs Enduring Champion (Centered Breath)(PHB3) – The choice for Centered Breath at this level, getting to make a save with a huge bonus and dealing extra damage when you do is very nice. The movement technique lets you provoke to gain more speed on this turn and the next. Generally not worth it unless you can reliably avoid Opportunity Attacks. Eternal Mountain (Stone Fist)(PHB3) – A close burst prone is very strong control. But it means you're very likely to get mobbed when those enemies start standing up. Fortunately, the Movement Technique gives you resistance to all damage. And lets you shift two. Very strong. Twin Thunders (PHB3) – Implement vs. Fort is a generally the weakest attack, but the damage is decent enough, with a nice extra damage on another enemy adjacent to the first. The Movement Technique is a strong escape/positioning power though.
Level 5, Daily Deadly Cobra Strike (PHB3) – Another Implement vs. Fort and it does less damage that level 1 fighter dailies. The ongoing poison is also not impressive. Leave this one alone. One Hundred Leaves (PHB3) - Close blast with a small push, but not party friendly. Feels wizardy to me. The Effect is nice but only lasts for 2 turns. Steel Warrior Technique (PHB3) - Uh...weird power. You smack the target for nice damage and then...mark it? And then, when they hit you they take damage equal to your Strength. If you can somehow combo this up with a real defender mark, this can be very strong. Unfortunately, the Mark is only save-ends. Oh well, still funny. Supreme Avalanche Combination(PHB3) - It's a power like this and Deadly Cobra Strike showing up at the same level that make me think the devs aren't paying attention. This does good damage and kicks off an excellent effect that buffs your damage for the rest of the fight and adds a slide to all your attacks. Very nice.
Level 6, Utility Centered Defense (PHB3) Don’t know why they called this Centered Defense, even the Stone Fist Monks will like +2 to all defenses for an entire encounter. Echoing Thunder (PHB3) A situational tiny push. Not really sure why this is here. Leap of the Heavens (PHB3) Good mobility power. Too bad it's at this level with a couple other way better powers. Purifying Meditation (Centered Breath) (PHB3) – Even though Centered Defense is really nice, if you're going with Centered Breath I think this is the power to have at this level. A minor action save that adds Wisdom is super useful. You’ll almost certainly pull this out every fight. It can't get you out of stunned or dominated, but it will handle pretty much everything else.
Level 7, Encounter Fist of One Hundred Strike(PHB3) – Two attacks with a 1 square shift rider on each is ok. Would be awesome if you could hit the same target twice. A 2 square shift rounds out the Movement Technique. At Paragon this becomes Blue since it gives you two chances to apply your flurry to both targets. Grasping Tide(PHB3) –Low damage with a daze rider. The movement technique lets you slide an enemy into a space you left when you shift two. It's some nice control, but not very stiker-y. Strike the Avelanche(Centered Breath)(PHB3) – Decent damage for a lvl7 striker encounter power with a secondary bowling attack knockdown at the end of a big slide. The Movement Technique is a speed boost with a weak rider effect that pretty much only works if someone else prones a target. Titan's Step (Stone Fist)(PHB3) – Medium damage with a big push. The movement technique is a big jump ala Cranes Wings, but when you land you create some difficult terrain in in burst 1. I don't really see the use of it right now.
Level 9, Daily Crane Dance (PHB3) Yeah, it's medium damage with only a prone rider, but it's a lot of targets that can be fairly spread out. Relentless Hound Technique (PHB3) – Here's a nice multi target power that's nearly as good as attacks on the run, with the exception that you don't get it all at once. This is great to set up damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don't scenarios with a defender. Strength to Weakness (PHB3) Can’t really recommend this. Mainly because the targets that have the enough HP to make this power useful on a failed save are the ones that will most likely save. A cunning Monk’s Unarmed Strike would make this power OK. Twilight Touch (PHB3) – A triple target blind is pretty sweet. It does decent but not amazing damage, but the real key is the rider. Make sure the targets are bunched up before you unleash this.
Level 10, Utility Internal Power(PHB3) – Some decent self healing without multi-classing. There are worse choices. Iron Dragon Defense(PHB3) – If you're Centered Breath this power absorbs a hell of a lot of damage, potentially almost a full healing surge's worth. You’ll use it every fight, no question. Even if you're Stone Fist, you might give this power a look. Spider Technique (PHB3) – You can end turns on walls. There are times when this will get you out of serious trouble, only problem is it precludes the use of any other Movement Technique. Spring Up (PHB3) – I could see taking this if it were as a minor action at-will, but this is underpowered as an encounter power, even as a free action.
Level 13, Encounter Dance of the Stinging Hornet (PHB3) - Cute little power that lets you jump up and ride a dragon while punching it in the head. Does decent damage too. Furious Bull(PHB3) - Large Close burst with a daze and a slide, with an effect shift. The movement technique gives you some extra speed and the ability to move through enemy's spaces. Nice to spread out damage, but I'd probably go with overpowering strike instead. Overpowering Strike(Centered Breath)(PHB3) - Big shift, Big punch, Big attack penalty. Nothing to hate about this power, and attacking Will pushes it solidly into must-have territory for Centered Breath Monks. Even Stone Fist Monks will like this power even though the Attack penalty is based on wisdom. Step Between the Worlds (Centered Breath) (PHB3) - Low damage that targets Will and offers a forced teleport. For the Movement Technique you can teleport your Wisdom +2 as well. This is basically one of the best movement techniques you have access to at this point.
Level 15, Daily Dancer on the Sea of Battle(PHB3) - Multiple attacks with such a big shift make this Spinning Leopard Maneuver's big brother. It adds a knock down rider, but it should be doing more damage 14 levels later. Even so, I think it's the best power at this level. Ring the Golden Bell(PHB3) - Medium damage power with a daze rider. Also it allows a ten (!) square jump with no OAs before you attack. It basically makes for a great opening power, and because you have a good initiative you'll usually be able to to make it work. Way of the Autumn Wind(PHB3) - Another big close burst. It's Imp vs Fort, for low damage and a weakened (save ends) rider. The stance effect that it kicks off isn't that good either. If the Shift was an interrupt instead of a reaction, I could easily forgive the weak attack, but it also targets friendlies. There's almost nothing good about this power.
Level 16, Utility Diamond Mind (PHB3) - Wizard's Shield power for your Will Defense. Really nice, especially considering at mid paragon and later some of the nastiest effects (I'm looking at you Dominate) target Will. You might not use this every fight, but when it comes up you'll never regret taking this. Master of Winds Stance (PHB3) - It's not horrible, but there are much better stances at this level. Meditative Solace (PHB3) - This is a pretty sweet stance. Saving as a minor action during your turn is great. It will be really hard to limit the mobility of a Monk with this power. Stance of the Still Sword(PHB3) - Essentially the exact same stance as the level 6 utility power centered defense. Except that it stacks with power bonuses to defense. So...basically your defenses are higher for two encounters per day if you take both. Groovy.
Level 17, Encounter Death's Chilled Embrace (Stone Fist) (PHB3) - Medium damage (necrotic though, it's a common resistance) with an immobilized effect. What's really nice though, is that you and your entire party get a HUGE bonus to damage, at this level easily 15+, when the target is pushed, pulled or slid. If you have a party that's good at forced movement, with multi attack slides, for example a ranger with lightning weapons and Mark of Storm, you can easily tack on 120+ damage. The movement power is a simple speed boost with the ability to make the attack at anytime during the movement. Steps of Grasping Fire(PHB3) - The Move Action of this power is pretty cool, I think they pillaged the Bo9S for this. Create a mini wall of fire, and then end with a close blast that does decent damage. The attack and movement power run into the problem of being party dangerous, which keeps this from being rated higher. There is a build that lets you abuse this power by sliding an enemy in and out of it multiple times on your round. For that build this is a gold power. Three Winds Kick(PHB3) - This power got the nerf bat in the update. it used to be that you could direct three attacks at the same target. Now it's up to three targets, but they can only be attacked once each. But, even with the nerf, it's a pretty damn good power, since it adds two stats to damage, and the movement technique is a teleport to an adjacent square to an enemy within 6. Whirlwind Kick (PHB3) - IMHO this power should not be at the same level as three winds kick. It completely overshadows it. It does more damage against more targets, bunches them up and then gets you out of there. Except for the fact that it targets fortitude instead of reflex, it's better in every way, even for Centered Breath Monks.
Level 19, Daily Angelic Legion Technique(PHB3) - Here's another daily that marks the target. It does good base damage, but it's not very abusable. The mark forces the enemy to attack you if it can rather than giving them an incentive. If it does, you get +4 power bonus to attack it till the end of your next turn. Dual in the Heavens(PHB3) - This is a multi attack power, but since the second attack doesn't roll for damage, you won't be getting a number of bonuses on it. If you hit though, the combination of dazed and prone effects this applies is pretty strong. Inevitable Fist(PHB3) - This is very nearly a weapon vs reflex. Nice and accurate. The damage is decent, but there is a level 1 encounter power that can do the same amount, and the effect is nice but not terribly amazing. Rising Dragon Fire(PHB3) - This feels less like an agile unarmed fighter power and more like a melee wizard power. I seriously hope there's a War Wizard type feat for the Psionic source. This creates a burst 2 zone that does an extra 2d6 fire damage to anything you hit. Sweet, you'll actually be doing striker like damage in there. Targeting allies keeps this from being rated sky blue.
Level 22, Utility Diamond Body (PHB3) – Ignore 20 damage. Yep, every encounter. that's basically 20 more HP for every fight. With this and Iron Dragon defense (which, if you are centered breath will be getting up to 16+ ignored damge), you can be seriously durable. Indomitable Technique (PHB3) – This power lets you get back up when you drop below zero HP. Basically, most characters will be able to do this at level 24, so if you want to be able to do it 2 levels early, go for it, but maybe if you took diamond body you wouldn't be below 0 in the first place. Mist Walker's Step (PHB3) – Gain phasing for 2 rounds. Pretty nice. Excellent for out of combat infiltration. Wind Walkers Step (PHB3) – You can fly your speed. But you have to land at the end of the movement. So...even if you double move you have to land at the end of each move action. Meh. There are certain situations in which this will be useful, but you probably have access to at least one fly or teleport encounter Movement technique at this point.
Level 23, Encounter Fist of Golden Light(PHB3) – Low base radiant damage (remember at-wills deal double damage at epic) with a super great secondary that’s, guess what, enemies only! Movement Technique is a massive (+4) speed boost. Only thing keeping this from must-have status is vs. Fort. Hungry Ghost (Centered Breath) (PHB3) – Decent damage with a nice boost of temp HP for a rider effect. The Movement Technique is great though, you can move through walls. Wow. Legion of One(PHB3) – The Five Storms at-will has grown up with a slight damage boost and a burst 3(!), and this will target invisible enemies, as opposed to only the ones you can see. The effect on the power and the movement technique are a shift 4. You will be able to position yourself into the most optimal place. Sunder the Castle (Stone Fist) (PHB3) – Single target damage, same as Hungry Ghost, but this includes a big push and a prone. S'ok. The movement technique however, was built for Githzerai Mobility possessing Centered Breath Monks. Enemies that miss with OAs during your movement are knocked prone.
Level 25, Daily
Phoenix Dance(PHB3) - Shift and attack every enemy you move next to. This is only slightly better than Dancer on the Sea of Battle, in that it includes some effect fire and radiant damage. If you're Stone Fist the bonus damage is pretty significant. Wandering Comet Strike(PHB3) – Teleport 10 three times and smash a different target each time for 3d10+mods. Except for the huge range, this isn'tbetter than Phoenix Dance. And includes the downside of likely being only able to target one enemy with flurry of blows. Strike of the Vulnerable Turtle(PHB3) - Your highest single target damage up to this point. The rider effect can range from very strong, to damn near useless depending on your party. Though it generally won't help you for beans. Watchful Hydra Technique(PHB3) - Huge (3!) enemies only close burst. Deals even more damage than your Phoenix Dance or Wandering Comet Strike per target and lets you target a creature with in 3 squares when you flurry.
Level 27, Encounter Celestial Drunken Boxer (PHB3) – Super, SUPER contingent on what you’re fighting. But when this enemies only burst 2 vs. Will hits, the damage output can potentially be truly unreal. The Movement Technique is a huge shift that sets up the best position for this power. The only reason this isn’t rated higher is because it’s impossible to gauge the damage. Note that an enemy can hit itself with this power, making it still useful in solo fights. Fist of Indomitable Iron (Stone Fist) (PHB3) – High single target damage, with a Movement Technique shift that can move you through enemies. Not inspiring. Heart Sundering Strike (PHB3) – Does it bother anyone else that the best two powers at this level have nothing to do with you punching something? Ah well. It's a dominate with an some low Aftereffect damage. An encounter dominate is always worth it. The Movement Technique, not that you care, is a big speed boost. Tap the Life Well (PHB3) – Single target damage vs. Fort that dazes two targets? Eh…not so good. The Movement Technique is a teleport to set up, but you have to end next to an enemy, limiting its versatility.
Level 29, Daily Quivering Palm (formerly Heart Sundering Strike) (PHB3) – Kill Bill anyone? Big damage and an Effect ongoing damage puts this power in serious striker territory. The damage goes up by 5 every time the target fails the save, so if you or your party has a way to reduce saves this is the sky blue choice. Mist on the Storm (PHB3) – Party friendly blast 3 for big damage (only 3 less on average than quivering palm) and a weakened rider. The Stance effect of this power might make it worth taking, gain phasing and end the stance as an interrupt to gain insubstantial until the end of your next turn. Pretty nice. Stunning Fist (PHB3) – Yeah, it's a stun with high damage (but not higher than Vulnerable Turtle) , but it does no damage on a miss and you have to hit twice, ruining a bunch of leader powers that only work on the next attack. Badly written.
In an effort to combat feat bloat, I think it makes sense to only rate feats that get a Black rating or better or specific traps that people might fall into. Heroic Tier: Class Feats Improved Monk Unarmed Strike – Only your basic attacks will use this. For most races, there's a feat that will give you bonus damage instead. Take that. Pointed Step Style – This feat helps you spread out your flurry of blows damage and keeps you from wasting it when you drop a target with your normal attack Notice that the spear you wield doesn't need to have reach to use this. At paragon it becomes extra useful because you will have two targets with flurry. Crashing Tempest Style – Here is your bonus striker damage feat. At heroic, this is a significant boost, taking your flurry of blows clear past every other striker damage feature.
Heroic Tier: General Alchemical Opportunist – Kinda funny, but can get expensive. Blade Opportunist – If you can grab a heavy blade, you can use this feat. Period. Bloodied Fleetness – Hilarious for a Razorclaw Shifter, your bloodied speed will be absolutely nuts. Not really great for most others. Coordinated Explosion – This is a great way to increase your attack bonus after taking an Expertise feat. You have a ton of close bursts that don't target allies. Deadly Draw(Centered Breath) – You have a lot of forced movement powers. For Centered Breath Monks this guarantees Combat Advantage as long as you keep hitting. At epic, you need to only hit once to gain combat advantage against everything adjacent to you, that is freaking crazy. Defensive Mobility – You one of your best at-wills, Cobra Dance, benefits greatly from this feat. And it’s not a bad one to have in the line-up for a mobile striker anyway. Durable – As a lightly armored melee striker, this feat won’t go unappreciated, but don’t take it before Toughness. Focused Expertise – Obsolete. Hafted Defense – Great feat if you're looking to boost defenses after Unarmored Agility. It precludes using a club though, because you need to be wielding the staff in both hands are all times. Also note, this is a shield bonus to AC and Ref, which will not stack with Two Weapon Defense. Headman's Chop – You have access to a lot of attacks that prone. This really helps to take advantage of them. If your racial choice has a feat that grants heavy blade or axe proficiency and bonus damage, such as Dwarf, Eladrin, Githzerai, Goliath, or Elf it's sky blue. Implement Expertise – Obsolete. Versatile Expertise is what you want. Improved Grab – This can be useful, and you will usually have a hand empty. Improved Initiative – If you didn’t already have a good Dexterity Score, this would be sky blue. Taking it means you WILL be going first most of the time. Melee Training (Centered Breath) – This is a feat tax on Centered Breath Tradition. You are a melee attacker that doesn’t have Strength as a primary. For charging and OAs you'll want this feat. Nimble Blade – Nice if you want to focus on daggers to deliver your implement attacks. Powerful Charge – Once you have Melee Training you can start looking here for some extra damage. Staff Fighting – Ah, this is a decent way to boost AC and stay on the TWF path. If you’re going with staff, make sure you take a good look at the Staff list at the end of this guide. This is a great way to go. Timely Respite – This combos nicely with the Githzerai Racial power. Black for them. Blue for Dwarven Monks. Toughness – This is still a top contender for increased durability. Two-Weapon Fighting – Free +1 damage. Opens up some great stuff. Two-Weapon Defense – It’s a shield bonus to AC and Reflex without dropping anything else. You want this unless you're going with Hafted Defense, or sacking defense for offense. Two-Weapon Threat – Even better than Blade Opportunist. If you're Centered Breath don’t take it before Melee Training. Unarmored Agility – Feat Tax! Honestly, you can get by without it, but if you only want to take one feat to boost defense this will be the one. Versatile Expertise – It's not an option. The good news is most GMs will grant this for free at 5th level. If you're playing RPGA you're stuck with it. Weapon Focus – Extra damage. You’re a striker. This is what you do. Weapon Expertise – You have NO weapon attacks except OAs. Wintertouched – Here's where Frost Cheese starts. Get that frosty fist ready.
Heroic Tier: Racial
Dragonborn Broken Shackles – This is a bonus to a defense that you’ll be decent at, you can afford to skip it. Dragonborn Frenzy – Not bad. You don’t want to be going around bloodied all the time though. Enlarged Dragonbreath – Bigger blast? Sure why not. Hurl Breath – If you’re going to take only one Breath feat, take this one, it’s that good.
Dwarf Dodge Giants – Good feat. Becomes blue at paragon and later where you’re fighting a lot more big stuff. Dwarven Weapon Training – Hey guess what? You can use Axes as Monk weapons now! But you won't get the best benefits from them. The +2 damage keeps this decent at heroic.
Eladrin Eladrin Soldier - A great feat for spear Monks, +2 damage at heroic is tasty. Fey Escape - Lets you position even when you can't. Very nice for a monk. Moon Resilience - Spending a surge without a leader as a minor action is always nice. But it has some strict requirements. No allies within 5 might be hard to do sometimes.
Elf Elven Precision - Is this surprising anyone? Wild Elf Luck - Another great feat for making sure you hit. Wood Elf Agility - If you have Elven Precision already and your DM includes a lot of terrain to climb and jump around on, this might be good. With this, Training and Cranes Wings you’re guaranteed at least 3 squares of jump distance at level 1. Except on a roll of a 1.
Githzerai Alhahn’s Mindful Relocation – Shift 6 when you second wind. Not bad. Can give you some super mobility on a turn when you’re beat up. Probably won’t find it’s way into most builds. Dakshai’s Body-Mind Union Even though this doesn’t improve your to-hit or damage. I would seriously consider taking this feat. It is a HUGE bonus to a save, that you make when the effect is applied. I cannot stress enough how good that is. It’s something that lvl 30 solos get, and you can pick it up at heroic tier. Githzerai Blade Master – Even though you aren’t getting the benefit from the weapon most of the time, having your OAs deal d10 or d12 and a +2 damage on all your attacks is pretty nice. Also nicely opens up Scimitar Dance at paragon. Iron Resolve of Zethadlun – You don’t start with any power points, but I’m guessing at least one of the psionic classes that does will synergize at least decently with Monk. Miryath's First Strike –Add your primary stat to damage to every target you hit before they act. With burst attacks you can apply this to every target you hit. Nuts.
Half Elf Group Insight – This feat sucks and everyone knows it sucks. But if you went Half-Elf don’t forget you have access to Action Surge.
Halfling Halfling Agility – It’s super good. Pick it up. Lost in the Crowd – This is a great AC boost. Take it after fifth level when you’re generally done fighting kobolds and goblins.
Human Action Surge - Is this surprising anyone? Copy Pasta is fun. Human Perserverance - Nice feat if you can get some other things to stack with it. Stubborn Survivor - Funny, when stacked with Human Perserverance. If you’re in the habit of a first round nova with those bursts, you’ll get more use out of this.
Tiefling Hellfire Blood – If for some reason, you just had to play a Tiefling Monk, you’re taking this and one of your hands is going to be on fire. Scion of the Gods – Get two-thirds of Paragon Defenses Early. And they happen to coincide with your weaker NADs. Sweet.
Deva Auspicious Lineage – If you went with a Deva Monk, you’ll pick this feat up. It’s just that simple. Radiant Power Decent alternative to Power Attack since you don’t wield two-handed weapons. Very strong vs. Undead.
Gnome There's just no Gnome feats that help out right now. Not surprising really.
Goliath Goliath Greatweapon Prowess – Funny how things can go from crap to great isn't it? Since monk can use ANY weapon they're proficient with for an implement, this feat actually gives you a scaling damage bonus. Can open up hammer rhythm also if you have the Con for it. Markings of the Blessed – Not bad, this might be a crucial save. Markings of the Victor – There’s at least one Monk encounter power that does extra damage if you hit before the target gets to go. This feat helps make sure it connects.
Half-Orc Anger Unleashed – Nice. This will likely come up in most combats. Get bloodied then unleash that daily. Savage Assault – Once per encounter you make it easier for your entire group to hit a guy. Excellent. Thirst for Battle – Even better than Improved Initiative, you won’t miss the 1 point and the healing surge will definitely help.
Long Tooth Shifter Gorebrute Charge - Nice bonus to charge damage, but only works when you're bloodied. Not a must have, but if you don’t know what to take, this isn’t bad.
Razor Claw Shifter Blurring Claw – Nice un-typed damage boost but you have to be bloodied to get it. Combat advantage is will be easy to come by though.
Either Shifter Shifter's Agility - You won't get to use this feat in skill challenges often, since it only works when you're bloodied. But if you’re trying to stack Athletics this is a huge boost. Sturdy Shifter - Temp HP when you're bloodied is pretty nice. Wild Sense – A double roll on perception is really good, but this is a very limited use of perception. Good init bonus though.
Minotaur Opportunity Gore – Being able to knock prone as an OA is nothing to scoff at. Really nice feat, would be even better if had better stat synergy.
Shardmind Coming Soon
Wilden Comng Soon Non Player's Handbook Races
Bladeling Improved Razorstorm – Your only racial feat and it’s fan-freaking-tastic. There aren’t many ways to get ongoing damage in an encounter power and your racial does it as a minor action in burst 2.
Changeling There aren't any great racial feats for Changelings.
[b]Drow Clutch of Darkness – Big burst means you can get combat advantage against more things. Good, but you can usually get by with the regular burst size, and you don’t have any powers that get exceptional with CA. Drow Fighting Style – If you’re going with a Drow dagger/crossbow build, you’ll want this feat. Instinctive Darkness –I really don't like it. You lose a round of combat advantage and it since it’s a reaction, it doesn’t help defend against the actual attack. Lolth’s Meat – You can benefit from this feat without wasting an attack on a minion by hitting it with your flurry power. Sweet. Ruthless Hunter – If you’re going with a hand crossbow, you’ll pick this up at some point. Shadowslip – View this as a Shift 2 as an encounter minor action. Looks pretty good. Shield of Shadows – Helps against area and close attacks, since those don’t take a penalty from your darkness.
Genasi Extra Maniestation – It’s just too good to leave alone. Genasi Fire Affinity You don’t really have enough elemental damage for this to matter. Genasi Frost Affinity – This would be sky blue, but unfortunately there are a ton of slows and immobilizes that aren’t cold based. Manifest Resistence – This can make you damn near immune to which ever element you choose. Sweet. Primordial Surge – Gain Temp HP every encounter? Yes thanks. Versatile Resistence – Gain resist to two of the most common elemental damage types and a third not so common.
Gnoll Claw Fighter – This would be pretty cool and fluffy for a Gnoll Monk. Unfortunately, someone saw a problem with this being a valid option beyond 5th level.In this game, weapons you can’t enchant majorly suck. Edit: You can now enchant your claws! The feat still sucks! You take a feat to drop your unarmed damage from d8 to d6. There are a hundred better options.
Kalashtar Quori Shield – Scaling psychic resist? Not bad. Psychic resistance is otherwise pretty hard to come by. Telepathic Sensitivity – Huge bonus to detect hidden creatures. Not bad at all.
RevenantFor the Revenant Past Life racial feature, you can choose any other race to select feats from. This can be pretty strong. Keep this in mind when building a Revenant. Chill of the Grave – Hey, now you can use your racial power against undead. Groovy. Dark Feasting – Temp HP are never unwelcome. Empowered Reaping – Scaling damage on your encounter power? Not bad. Don’t take this before a weapon prof/+2 feat though. Past Life Flashbacks – Nice to-hit bonus on the first round of combat. Eating a -10 to initiative kind of defeats the point of playing a high Dexterity skirmisher though. Spectral Reaping – You can do some serious damage to insubstantial creature with this power. Too bad this is very situational.
Shadar-Kai Benighted Birthright – Necrotic resistance is fairly easy to come by on items. The fact that this doesn’t scale really hurts its usefulness. Deathly Disruption – There's currently one power that does necrotic damage, it's not worth it. Life on the Edge – Almost as good as Action Surge, but you have to use it while bloodied. On the plus side, it applies to damage as well. Use this when you drop some multi-target powers to get the most use out of it.
Warforged Component Modification – Decent, but limits your choices of equipment. Don’t take this before Improved Warforged Resolve. Improved Warforged Resolve – Can’t argue with more Temp HP. Warforged Tactics – You should be able to get this bonus to hit on nearly every attack you make.
Paragon Tier: Class Feats Brutal Flurry – This feat lets you deal extra damage when you target a single enemy with your flurry. This is a very good feat, the only reason it isn't sky blue is that it precludes a using number of other bonuses with your flurry. If you find yourself without a sky blue or gold feat at a particular level, pick this up, it's invaluable in solo fights Effortless Motion – This is an untyped AC bonus that you will have access to nearly every round. If you're going for a very defensive build, you want this. Simple Precision – This feat will get better the longer the class is around. A +1 bonus to hit is wonderful, but there aren't any at-will tweaks right now that make them better than encounter powers. (Like Sword Burst or Eldrich Strike for example) Starblade Flurry – I love this feat. Imagine if you will, a Ranger who hits his quarry with a big attack only to have it drop without taking the quarry damage. Wouldn't it be great if he could put his Hunter's Quarry damage on that guy over there. With this feat you can do that. Or just kill a minion. Or target another enemy adjacent to you, since this gives you a third target at paragon. Only reason it's not gold is that staff Monks will leave it alone in favor of extra defense. Zuoken's Centering – Base HP, Surges, Strength and Athletics checks on Wisdom. Wow. (Note, the complied version of Dragon Magazine 378 lists this as Githzerai only. The character builder lists it as needing only Monk)
Paragon Tier: General
Agile Athlete – Depending on your build, you’ll either be using athletics all the time in combat, or very rarely. If you’re using it all the time this becomes Blue. Agile Opportunist – Can give you an extra basic attack. Assuming you’ve taking Melee Training, this is nice when you get it. But there will be combats where you don’t use it at all. Blood Thirst – Not clear if this includes Melee Touch. If someone knows one way or the other please let me know. If it does, this becomes Blue Brutal Finish – You can’t be trained in this by default and the skill is based on a dump stat. If you pick up training in intimidate this it’s not bad, you do have access to a number of will targeting attacks, becomes Blue in the right build. Deadly Axe – Even if you get axe proficiency, it has been stated emphatically that you don’t get high crit on your implement powers. Defensive Advantage – Since you have a number of ways to get combat advantage, this isn’t a bad feat for you. And you’ll qualify for it easily. Devastating Critical – More damage is your job. Sky Blue if you’re crit fishing. Fleet-Footed – You’re already fast. Get faster. Great Fortitude – I like paragon defenses more, and you already have a scaling bonus to Fort with either traditions either from stat or class feature. But if you really feel you’re laggin’ pick this up. Hammer Rhythm – As nice as this feat would be to pick up, there’s almost noway you’ll qualify for it. Again, this needs clarification as to whether this feat and feats like it apply to melee touch attacks. Heavy Blade Opportunity – You have no at-will attacks with the weapon keyword.] Iron Will – Basically I feel the same way about this as I do about Great Fortitude. Not amazing, but can get you an extra boost. Lasting Frost – FROST CHEEEEEEEEEEESE!! But seriously, not a bad way to go. Light Blade Precision – Nice damage bonus if you go with daggers. Lightning Reflexes – Basically I feel the same way about this as I do about Great Fortitude and Iron Will, however this is your primary defense and with this, you can get up into very hard to hit territory. Paragon Defenses – You’re taking this feat, end of story. Pole-arm Gamble (Stone Fist) – Nice feat. Centered Breath monks likely won't qualify since they'll tend to place Con ahead for Str. A Stone Fist spear Monk of certain races, like Longtooth Shifter or Minotaur, will qualify easily, and they should take it. Resounding Thunder – You have a couple of bursts with the thunder keyword. Keep this feat in mind. Scimitar Dance – Actually quite good. Deal your main stat damage on a miss. Biggest reason this isn’t Sky Blue for every monk is that you actually have to pick up scimitar proficiency somehow. Sky blue for Githzerai and Elf. Seize the Moment – Tailored for Rogues, but you’ll see some use out of this also. Spear Push – You have some forced movement up your sleeve even on an at-will, and this feat even works with close blasts and bursts. Centered Breath Monks will have a tougher time qualifying though. Two Weapon Opening – Crit fishers will love this feat, as per usual. Uncanny Dodge – As a class that generally wants to be flanked most of the time to benefit from your many burst attacks, this is pretty attractive. Keep in mind that Eyes in the Back of Head is better for that though. Even though this feat works on all combat advantage not just flanking. Unfailing Courage – As a melee striker, you can bet you’re going to get womped on a lot. This can help make up for it, but you’ll likely want to kill things before you need to use this. Vexing Flanker – Great in certain parties. Situational for others.
Ghostwalker(Centered Breath) - This path has one stat specific rider and it's Wisdom. Centered Breath will be able to take best advantage but either tradition works well. This path works very well with light blades and the Nimble Blade feat. Features Ghostwalker's Action - Weakening isn't a super cool effect, and having an action point bonus that only works on enemies granting you combat advantage is kinda... bleh. It does get better at 16 though. Of Two Worlds -This is a decent feature. +2 defense vs. enemies granting you combat advantage is nice. If you're Centered Breath and remembered to pick up deadly draw, it's very consistent. Ride the Spirit(Centered Breath)- I like the idea of punching a minion, teleporting into a clump of enemies, getting combat advantage, and dropping an action point burst to weaken everything. Not going to work every time, but hey, it's a neat trick. Powers Tormented Spirit - If you're willing to risk it and are trained in acrobatics, you can use the movement technique to teleport the target up as an effect. You go with him, punch him in mid-air, and you both fall, but you're trained in acrobatics with a huge bonus and likely don't take falling damage. Soul Dance - Another +2 defense for the entire fight stance. Yummy. And when they swing and-a-miss, you get to teleport next to them and get combat advantage. Vengeful Ghost - Vs. Will with a save ends stun and an after effect daze(only lasts till it takes damage though). Very nice.
Initiate of the Dragon (Stone Fist) - This path is pretty much geared towards Stone Fist monks. Centered Breath can make it work, bu they lose out on the AP feature. Features Dragon's Action- Extra damage that doesn't need to roll to hit. Not bad. I would rate this higher but it's fire damage, the resistance of which, while by no means ubiquitous, is nevertheless fairly common. Strength of the Dragon- Gain or increase your fire resist by 5. Also gain +2 damage till the end or your next turn when you are hit by fire damage even if you don't actually lose HP. Surely there must be some way to spam minor fire damage on yourself. Claws of the Dragon- Here's the main reason to take this path, +2 to all flurry damage all the time. AND it ignores all resistances. Powers Draconic Torrent- Good fire damage in a big blast. Couple of downsides: It hits allies, and blasts are tricky to apply flurry of blows to. The movement technique is really solid though. You can use it to fly over enemy groups and blast downward, effectively using the power as an area burst 2. Dragons Vengeance- This would be an awesome power except that it only works when you're bloodied. The fact that it's fire damage drops this down to forgetable. Draconic Avatar- Same deal as Draconic Torrent except that the effect this kicks off is freaking amazing. +4 to damage and a fly speed for the entire encounter? Yes Please! Mountain Devotee (Stone Fist) - You must be Stone Fist to enter this path. Hell, this path is a good reason to go Stone Fist in the first place. Features Inexorable Mountain's Action- Add your Strength to Damage. Again. Shattering Fist- +2 damage to both your flurry and your unarmed strikes. Also, add strength to damage vs. objects and constructs. As if we needed something more out of this feature. Avalanche Flurry- You get to knock prone enemies without needing to roll to hit them. Starblade Flurry makes this ridiculously stong control. Powers Tumbling Boulder- Medium damage for this level, you knock prone and the enemy can't stand till the end of your next turn. The Movement Technique is pure fantastic. Root the Mountain- It's an encounter stance. You are slowed while in it, but forced movement simply doesn't work on you. Avalanche Throw- An honest to goodness single targetMulti-Attack power and it's an immediate reaction with a prone, push and a daze rider. This is very nearly a Gold power.
Radiant Fist (Centered Breath) - This path is mostly geared towards Centered Breath Monks, as their best bits key off of Wisdom. Features Radiant Fist's Action- Wow. Big damage boost that lingers till the end of your next turn. And regain 15 HP. Excellent. Channel Divinity- This opens up a LOT of stuff. Check out some of the other guides for good channel divinity feat. Radiant Hammer Fists- Blind on crits and deal Radiant damage with your flurry. From this point on you laugh when the DM deploys undead. Powers Divine Sun- They built radiant vulnerability into the freaking class. That's all you need to know. Undimmed Sun- Need to tank the Solo? Once you're bloodied, drop this stance and you can do it. Blinding Sun Technique- Decent damage, plus, what the hell, lets throw on +4 damage and 19-20 crit for the entire rest of the encounter. As an effect.
Item Guide Since you generally have more of a choice in items, and there are more of them, I'm only going to include items that are rated blue or higher, or are traps. Work in Progress
Staff The Character Builder currently lets you use the Implement Staff as a Monk Implement. That might change in the future. Just be aware. Also, a number of very sexy staffs are not in the running because they affect arcane powers only.
Battle Staff (EPG) - Looks sweet but it's a trap. Only works on weapon powers, of which you have none. Defensive Staff (AV) - You've got the best NAD boosts of any class, why not make them even better? D8 crit is fair as well. Use this before you're able to put NAD boosters into other item slots. Staff of the Serpent (AV) - D8 poison crit die either way, with an added D6 POISON DAMAGE (Dexterity focused Assassin multiclassers take note) on all melee attacks. For the daily power, you have exactly one power it will help out and the power sucks. Staff of Corrosion (AV) - Similar to Serpent but with Acid Damage, and a daily that Monks won't use. Staff of Divinity (AV) - You can use it as a holy symbol, so if you multiclassed divine, you might want to pick this up. Staff of Expansion (AV) - Since the daily doesn't specify that you have to attack with the staff to gain the benefit, you can keep a low level version around. Staff of Luck and Skill (AV) - You can use it as a holy symbol, so if you multiclassed divine, you might want to pick this up. Quickening Staff (AV) - Free attack once per day as a follow up to a daily ain't bad. Staff of Resilience (AV) - Whoa. The daily power is nice enough that you might want to keep a level 3 version of this around. Staff of Ruin (AV) - This is basically your strongest choice for staff damage. Obviates the need for Iron Armband, which don't apply to a bunch of your attacks anyway. Staff of Warmage (AV) - Increases those burst 3 powers to burst 4. Thunderwave Staff (AV) - There are a number of powers which give you a push big enough for this to be a serious bonus.
Dagger Daggers have a lot going for them in terms of versatility. They can be thrown with your prime stat, they can be used with the Starblade Flurry feat, and they qualify for the Nimble Blade feat. Dagger Master is another perk, but by no means is it necessary. Cunning (AV) - You will have access to a couple of good powers with a save-ends rider. This dagger will help you keep those going. Desiccating (AV) - You've got a number of attacks that target Fort. This can help you hit. Frost (AV) - Here's your frost cheese access. Works best when you can get another item bonus to damage such as with iron armbands, also remember the march update means Frost Cheese doesn't work on every target in a blast, so use this if you're focused on Multi-attack powers. Goblin Totem (AV) - Invaluable for Halfling Monks. Unsure as to whether it applies to implement attacks, since it uses the same language as a number of other effects that the CB considers weapon only. (Not that the CB is a rules checker, but it's a valid source. ) Graceful (AV) - Nice early on in your career, potentially overpowered around 20th level with Daggermaster.