Under construction. Please watch for flying roundhouses.
House of the 30 Chambers
A Humble Treatise of Wuxia
Greetings, weary wanderer. It is not every day someone makes it out to a distant place such as this, and never without reason. Do you seek to become wulin? to master the ten-thousand styles and defend the world with the might of your martial and spiritual prowess? Then it seems you have come to the right place... though be warned the path of the true warrior is fraught with peril.
Why Walk the Way? - The Sales Pitch
The only striker in the PHB3, the monk has some big shoes to fill with the forebearers in 4E having carved out solid niches for themselves. Rangers have their focus-fire strength, rogues have so nasty burst damage with their hobbling tricks, warlocks play a mean controller game, sorcerers drop AoEs, avengers are super-accurate, and assassins... but what about monks? Well, they have several things going for them:
Defenses: Despite being relegated to cloth armor by default, a monk can approach the highest AC totals in the game in every tier. Further, their boosting of the other defenses is second to none. Along with their powers, you are no glass cannon, capable of deflecting and absorbing blows in a fashion that will make some defenders envious.
Mobility: The full-discipline power format makes it so each at-will and encounter attack you pick in-class comes with its own mini-utility power that boosts your speed, grants shifting or jumps, and eventually even teleportation. Combined with the movement built into several of their attacks, you can be where ever you want to be.
Consistent Damage: As we've learned with rangers and avengers, more attack rolls are better; more chances to hit and crit are going to improve damage output majorly. One of the issues of using multi-target attacks is that you can't necessarily apply extra damage on the same target reliably, though. The Flurry of Blows meta-feature solves this by giving you a boost on any hit that you can apply to any adjacent target, combining many of the advantages of both striker schools.
Of course, these benefits are meant to offset the inherent risks that come with these powers. You cannot be a coward to play a monk; you're doing your best work when you're in the middle of the action, potentially attacking every monster in the fight every single turn. Understanding the strengths of your party-mates and understanding how much support you can get if you get overwhelmed is the difference between a legend and a corpse.
The Order of the Heavens - Rating System
The system to be used here is pretty close to the standard used with other classes: Red: Mechanically inferior. Purple: Niche. Generally poor with some odd or infrequent usefulness. The blurb will usually cover these cases. Black: Proficient. While it's not amazing, you should not suffer mechanically for this choice. Blue: Exemplary. Choose these guilt-free. Sky Blue: Astounding. Usually a centerpiece for a path or otherwise just a clearly superior mechanical choice. Gold: Ridiculous. Reserved for absolutely clear choices. Blatantly powerful options likely to receive errata will fall under this color.
Along with a standard color rating on the option name, powers will be followed with parenthises that callout defenses attacked and any stat used as a rider. Further, each power will have a proceeding line such as the following: Brawler / Marauder | Hunter /Trickster
For each path (discussed in the next post), this line calls out my rating for its value in that sort of build. The primary rating will generally, but not always, be an aggregate of the path ratings. For non-power sections, the path line may be used if it seems useful for communication.
The Median Points - Guide Layout
In order to aid navigation, these links go to the headers of each of the following sections.
Hit Points & Surges: As the core measure of durability, the monk finds itself right in the middle band of the classes. The 12+Con mod+5/level HP is enough to be able to handle some hits, but not enough to wade into combat without a plan. Similarly, the 7+ surges one gets are enough to survive a standard run of encounters, but not leaving too many to spare. Centered Breath monks that don't care about Strength riders may wish to emphasize Constitution as a tertiary stat instead, raising your durability substantially over time.
Defenses:Whereas you handle damage as well as most other classes, you are in a much better position when it comes to taking it in the first place. Your Unarmored Defense lets you treat cloth (or nudity) as leather defensively, and your natural boost to non-armor defenses is second to none, bypassing most of the 'weak defense' issue nearly every other character will inevitably run across in later tiers. Combined with careful use of powers to avoid overexposure, you can mitigate damage you take rather effectively.
Proficiencies: At first blush, the weapon proficiencies given to the monk seem sparse, but the true warrior is beyond the physical limitations of steel and sinew. Since your powers are universally implement-based, your bare fist is equally as effective by default as a club or dagger or staff, and is in fact the superior choice for OAs (more important if you're using the Stone Fist tradition). Being able to use any weapon you gain proficiency in or ki focus as an implement can open some interesting venues.
Old Traditions - Class Features
Flurry of Blows: Depending on the path you choose, you get different version of the Flurry of Blows power. Both share much in common, triggering once per turn on your successful hit, targeting one or more adjacent enemies. There are, however, differences:
Centered Flurry of Blows:The less damaging of the two options from the PHB3, Wisdom-focused monks trade in some damage output for board control, getting to reposition a hit target around him or a bystander where ever he desires. This power is a part of that damage mitigation factor mentioned before, as well as helping to ease movement or setting up flanks for allies.
Stone Fist Flurry of Blows:Rather than move enemies with your strikes, you bring the strikes right to them. A respectable 3 + Strength vs. a target you hit is comparable to base Sneak Attack damage, and the extra pump vs. a target not hit by the triggering attack makes it a substantial bonus if you can afford to leave two or three foes alive a bit longer as you pound them all down.
Mental Equilibrium/Bastion:Despite the two names, the net effect of either power is the same: a +1/tier defense bonus to the off-defense for either tradition. Stone Fists get a Will pump to complement their rising Dex & Strength, and Centered Breaths their Dex & Wisdom. With a little stat love in character creation, you can find a monk can greatly cover that back-end better than most anyone else.
Unarmored Combatant: The 'unarmed attack as longsword' benefit is nice, but since your powers treat unarmed attacks as implements, this really only matters for Stone Fist monks, and even then only for the ones not trying to use some other weapon for synergy purposes. Still, it's the best weapon you start with proficiency in, and it's free.
Unarmored Defense:Normally, a melee combatant wearing cloth armor would be greatly inconvenienced. However, with the inherent +2 bonus here treating cloth or skin as leather, you're in an alright position. Combine this with Unarmored Agility from the same book, though, and you begin to top the AC charts if you aren't forgetting to pump your Dexterity. Stone Fist monks may even consider the masterwork cloth armors that raise Will to further close off that defense to eager foes.
The Way of the Warrior - A Discussion on Paths & Goals
Traditions and Paths
As of the PHB3, there are two traditions for the Monk class: Centered Breath and Stone Fist. The basic differences between the two are superficially minor, their off-defense bonus essentially the same thing, and a choice of forced movement or more damage in their different Flurry of Blows powers. Since only one paragon path references a tradition directly, and no powers yet do, a player who devotes some stat points to both Strength and Wisdom could end up with viable choices in nearly any power. However, there are some patterns which emerge as directions to consider for creating a monk character.
Stone Fist Tradition
Path of the Marauder: Perhaps the best 'default' for what a monk is, your game plan is relatively simple: do as much damage to as many enemies as possible. In a way very similar to how a ranger uses multiple-attack powers to improve the odds of firing off his Hunter's Quarry against a main foe, the nature of Flurry of Blows encourages making as many attack rolls as possible to increase the odds of popping it off each turn. Therefore, multi-target powers are your bread and butter, as well as anything which allows you to navigate and survive a crowd to most reliably hand out your substantial damage.
Path of the Brawler: Whereas the marauder finds itself paralleled with the ranger or sorcerer, the brawler plays a bit more like a melee rogue, using its allies to help peg down a focus fire target and pound him mercilessly. In this case, multi-attack powers are not necessarily as important as effects which help reward the team's monster-slaying efforts. The Flurry of Blows power becomes a bit more like an Avenger's boost in higher tiers, allowing you to punish enemies trying to capitalize on your exposed position that grants flanking. Defenders and other melee strikers will tend to be your best friends.
Centered Breath Tradition
Path of the Trickster: Similar to the marauder, your focus is on the fray, trying to get involved with as many enemies as possible to hurt them reliably. Your version of Flurry of Blows encourages playing a secondary controller more obviously, and your emphasis on powers tends to lean toward effects that end. This path synergizes with area controllers, letting you force more damage or effects out of their zones and conjurations.
Path of the Hunter: Like the brawler, the hunter path tends to be more concerned with a main target at a time. Unlike that path, the hunter's goal is to get deep into enemy lines, shutting down controllers and artillery that would otherwise harass the party unhindered until the brutes & soldiers fall. In this regard, your Flurry of Blows serves two purposes, being a free bit of repositioning tech to keep a ranged monster from having a good sight line and becoming in later tiers a deterrent and means to deal with multiple targets you'd call your prey at once. Being potentially cut off from easy support by leaders, burst healing effects become more important to stay kicking.
If you're looking for a quick-and-dirty understanding of the rankings below, just keep this in mind: Centered Breath monks want Trickster/Hunter powers, and Stone Fist monks want Marauder/Brawler powers. Hopefully, the review text will help clarify from there how well they'll work for you. Multi-target characters will care most about the Marauder powers for SF & Trickster for CB, with some possible bleed-over.
Fort vs. Reflex: In a vacuum, it is understood that monsters generally have higher Fort scores than Reflex, so it may seem that attacks with go for Reflex are intrinsically better. However, this understanding neglects to take into account monster types. Soldiers and brutes usually have high Forts with either Reflex or Will as weak points. Brawlers will find themselves going against them a lot, and should therefore prioritize Reflex attacks. Hunters, conversely, will likely find themselves chasing down controllers and artillery monsters more often, which tend to be Reflex-heavy and Fort-light. For them, the Fortitude targeting attacks gain value, and may find items like Desiccating Weapons worthy investments. Tricksters and Marauders spread their attacks more freely, and therefore can be best served with a good mix of defense targets to handle any situation that arises.
Familial Schools - Race Choices
Player's Handbook 1
Dragonborn:The lack of Dexterity along with Charisma as a bumped stat gives them a definite lean down the Stone Fist lane. Their Breath Weapon and surge bump helps make them a bit sturdier than they'd otherwise be, and lets them undervalue other minion-killing tricks. You can potentially have a good bit of fun with Draconic Arrogance and the monk's various forced movement powers. In fact, the Dragonborn Spear-Fighter Monk is a legitimate build option in its own right.
Dwarf: The lower mobility of the dwarf and lack of primary stat support makes this race less than ideal for the path of the monk. However, it does have several factors going for it that offset their downsides. The stability of the dwarf helps resist some nasty tricks (many similar to what you do yourself), and the Con/Wis bonuses are excellent for a focused Centered Breath build, only beaten out by Dex/Wis.
Eladrin:Getting access to a greatspear and a damage bonus with it for a feat is a nice place to start for a Polearm Momentum build, and while being the smartest kid in the temple isn't saying much, your Stone Fist eladrin can potentially join in the Fey Charge craze.
Elf: The inherent speed bonus and shift reward here make this the most synergistic option for mobility. While your elven accuracy is a bit less exciting than for some other classes, it's still really good, and even the weapon proficiency in bows is unusually good, since your ki focus automatically counts for them too. The elf is perhaps the ultimate Hunter race.
Half-Elf: With a lack of any stat synergy and a striker mechanic that doesn't lend itself well to abuse, you don't have a lot to play with here. The only clear trick so far is a half-elf monk using Twin Strike and the Blurred Strike Ki Focus. I hope an inventive reader might find another quirky synergy to abuse if I cannot.
Halfling: Only in the world of the monk would a halfling be better at straight brawling and worse at tricky hi-jinks than a dragonborn, but there you have it. The smarter choice for tradition is Stone Fist (since pumping Wisdom would negate any real benefit from Cha), and your OA resistance & defensive re-roll serves well in the "Fightin' 'Round the Woild" playbook.
Human: The general human proclivities pretty much establish that a human monk can go basically any route he wants, and can likely follow any two paths nearly as well as other races can follow one until future material begins to allow for more differentiation.
Tiefling: Currently, there's nothing that particularly exciting for them here. A Flaming Weapon or the like can solve the stat deficiency to an extent, but this choice is best left to wait until they get a bone in the presumed Psionic Power.
Player's Handbook 2
Deva: The deva's stats encourage going down the Centered Breath line, and the roll enhancing power suggests use with big single-target powers, which mostly lead to the hunter path. Bloodied Majesty will help to keep foes' death throes under control.
Gnome: Cowards that currently provide no real incentive for following the way.
Goliath: A set of the monk powers put the oft-overlooked double-roll-for-jump benefit to good use, making them a giant grasshopper of murder on the battlefield. If you want to go on a Gummi Bears / Godzilla rampage, you could do worse.
Half-Orc: Nearly every facet of the half-orc lends itself quite well to the harsh lifestyle of the iterant monk. Able to get into the fray easily and buffered from a harsh beating, your sheer damage output makes you dangerous to enemies, and that can let you toy with them. The lone Str/Dex race puts you right on the Stone Fist path, an excellent marauder or brawler.
Shifter, Longtooth: With bonuses in both secondary stats, you can go either route in tradition choice, but Stone Fist seems a likelier choice. Your shifting power can create a no-win situation for enemies: if they ignore you, you'll keep rampaging, but if they try to stop you, you just end up rampaging that much harder.
Shifter, Razorclaw: A Dex/Wis race already lends itself perfectly to the Centered Breath way, and the racial bonus to speed and defenses once bloodied (made that much better with Mark of Warding if you can get it) creates no-win situations just like with their brethren. If you get beat up hard, they have to finish the job quick or let you slip from their grasp.
Player's Handbook 3
Githzerai: While not as obvious as the elf about it, the githzerai are another race about mobility.What they trade in sheer focus, they make up for in versatility. The skill bonuses are good in heroic and early paragon to help with unusual situations, and their feat selection very much rewards going first in an encounter and slipping in and out of battle. You also have some extra durability in your racial power that helps in the middle of a pitched melee.
Minotaur: While more flexible in stat allocation than similar races like the goliath or warforged, the powers of the minotaur don't provide much to any monk paths. Goring Charge does give them a trick to extend their speed in conjunction with at-will movement tricks, but are likely going to be more proficient projecting their rage outward than caging it in. They're proficient brawlers as well, for what it's worth.
Shardmind: Unlike the Deva, their benefits don't generally lend themselves to the life of a monk. With a Githyanki Silver Blade, they can push Psychic Focus and all that entails, but this is currently the one psionic class with which the Shardmind doesn't gel particularly well.
Wilden: Not as fundamentally slippery as an elf or githzerai, their aspect powers give them a level of craftiness that puts them right on par. Pursuit of the Hunter is a solid hunter path trick unsurprisingly, but Voyage of the Ancients happens to combo with Five Storms and the other close powers the monk can use to warp a front of the battle.
Other RPGA-Legal Sources
Bladeling: If you ever wanted to play a bladeling, but were sad there's wasn't much of a good class option for them, look no further! Razor Storm is a nice trick for going nova, in some ways superior to Elven Accuracy for this class (assuming you don't care who you hit to trigger FoB, but that you just do). With the risk of not getting future support, it's going to serve the job well enough to consider for now, but it might find itself outclassed in the future.
Changeling: It's hard to get excited about that Cha bonus, but a feat or background choice can make you a proficient taunter. They currently don't lean particularly heavily down any path, appropriate for a shape-shifting race.
Drow: With the Zoidberg trick of Cloud of Darkness, you have a safety net from being overrun and a way to get multiple enemies to grant you CA for your multi-target attack.
Genasi: Given the sheer number of available manifestations, the Genasi have many open doors. They lean a bit more in the Stone Fist direction for obvious reasons, but their tricks from certain manifestations means going Wisdom secondary isn't necessarily the wrong choice.
Gnoll: With a benefit set that pulls in every direction, you can make a very versatile gnoll monk. Your Dex/Con bonuses make Centered Breath tempting, but the charge-benefiting is better suited to Stone Fist monks in heroic tier (Fierce Charge lets your CB monks use an at-will with it later). Your bloodied damage bonus encourages going it alone, but Pack Hunter's damage bonus encourages focus fire. While not directly ideal, and at the risk of having little support in future materials, a gnoll monk can be a really interesting choice for someone who wants to try a little bit of everything.
Kalashtar: A proficient Centered Breath choice, the lack of any real synergy stands out. Dual Soul and Bastion of Mental Clarity makes them among the safest strikers from enemy dominators, and therefore makes them solid hunters if your DM likes those tricks.
Revenant: Equipped like the Gnoll, what you lose in raw feature strength, you're more than rewarded with the ability to leech off of any future race-specific goodies. You can already do a better job with Draconic Arrogance than a living Dragonborn or Hellfire Blood than Tieflings. Again, a Con/Dex race leans more to Centered Breath, but DA abusers will want that Stone Fist action with enough Wisdom to use some of the multi-target pushing powers.
Shadar-Kai: The ability to go insubstantial with a reasonable teleport is a good escape hatch that allows dangerous incursions into fights that fit the theme of the race. While a solid choice on its own merits, until some more monk support arrives, you might look to MC avenger to tease some extra accuracy out while also using some of that feat support to bolster your character. For example, Sequestering Jaunt makes for a quirky jump into the hunter or trickster pools.
Warforged: The Terminator is a noble goal for any character to approach, and while his synergy with the monk class isn't quite up with some other similar races, magic bio-robot wulin just sound awesome. This is one of the better races for the hunter path, especially with things like Warforged Tactics to get bonuses when not quite able to flank.
Knowing the Body and Mind - Stats & Skills
Strength: Obviously great for Stone Fist monks, it can be useful for Centered Breath ones for OAs, multiclassing, and some weapon feats... Constitution: Unless they take Con instead. Useful for surges and HPs, this is the default Fort stat for CB monks. Dexterity: Since it's your single attack stat and it's also a pump to AC & reflex, avoid this at your peril. Intelligence: Seeking enlightenment clouds the way. Unless there's a specific MC you've in mind, this is a dump stat. Wisdom: CB monk riders, some good skill modifiers, and a Will raise make this pretty solid. If you're going with Polearm Momentum, remember Charisma: For a Stone Fist character of a race with a Cha boost, this is more efficient than Wisdom. Otherwise, don't bother.
Acrobatics: Useful to handle tricky terrain and falling damage, as well as breaking out of grabs. Athletics: Diplomacy: Nice, but only really worth consideration if you aren't dumping Charisma and there's not already several superior faces. Endurance: Great if you deal with deal with diseases a lot, but otherwise not a major pick. Heal: A decent emergency option in heroic, and pretty strong if you dip into rituals. Insight: Very useful for Centered Breath monks in games with a social or intrigue bent. Perception: If you're a hunter, you take this. If not... you probably still take this. Religion: Unless you're an eladrin or shadar-kai that deals with immortals or deals of the faith, you're here for Radiant Fist; if you were going to multiclass into a divine class anyway, ignore this. Stealth: Useful in combat and out, it lets you work with Strike Teams or be a lone ambusher. Thievery: Less generally applicable than Stealth, if you need to break & enter or disarm a trap, you'll be glad to have it.
Arcana: So far from the standard, if you're taking it, you have something in mind. Worthless by default. Bluff: If Diplomacy looked tempting, this might well be viable. Changelings should seek this out. Dungeoneering: Psionic classes are supposed to fight abberant creatures, so this may make sense to pick up, particularly for dwarves. History: Let the book-learned look to the past; you're all about the present. Intimidate: Less useful than Diplomacy and not in-class... you can pass. Nature: Elves can do well with this, as well as any Centered Breath wanderer. Streetwise: Petty corporeal concerns are not yours.
Crane's Wings (Fort): The movement effect of getting to jump freely is a nice way to avoid obstacles en route to a target. This attack demonstrates a major hunter theme: you can knock your main foe away (more with Spear Push, Rushing Cleats, etc.) or smack away a secondary foe and use Flurry of Blows to then slide the prey away. All in all, a solid choice for that path. Other paths may like it for the ability to open a movement lane, set up a blast, or position an enemy for group murder. Dragonborn & DB Revenants with Polearm Momentum can cheese this out proper. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Dancing Cobra (Ref): Equal in base damage to Crane's Wings, the extra damage rider makes this the most damaging single target at-will for a monk by default; halfling CB monks make the optimal use of it with their natural OA bonus, and githzerai can use it safely in paragon with Githzerai Mobility. For general use, it's slightly superior to Crane's Wings, but less expandible. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Dragon's Tail (Fort): While the base damage is the lowest among the at-wills, knocking an enemy prone provides several benefits. First, it combines with its own movement effect to allow you slide a roadblock enemy around so you can get where you want to go (including a flanking position). Dragonborn can get DA bonus damage off of it, and being prone gives your melee friends CA, flanking or not. Further, hunters will appreciate this for being able to hobble ranged-primary monsters for keeping them from getting off their better tricks OA-free; Melee Training becomes high-priority here. While not an amazing power for damage, it's a worthy trick for most any monk to consider. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Five Storms (Ref): Just as Sword Burst is a presumed first choice for swordmages or Twin Strike for rangers, Five Storms is the default first choice for monks. The only at-will that gives multiple attack rolls, this will be the most reliable option for getting FoB damage. Optimal use of this power does encourage getting multiple foes next to you, and so might not be as amazing for brawlers and hunters that aren't getting surrounded that much. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 1 Encounters
Awaken the Slumbering Hurt (Fort, Str): Stone Fist monks will like the ability to finish of a foe faster. For brawlers, any issue with the Fort defense should be resolved with a flank. Marauders will appreciate the Fort attack for handling pestering skirmishers or lurkers, and that it can be an effective 'shift your speed' if you've banged up several enemies already. Hunters might find this useful for a finisher, but tricksters can do better. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Drunken Monkey (Will, Wis): The only Will attack at level 1, this trades some base damage to get Charm-like, sending one enemy into another with a basic melee attack. Any monk not dumping Wisdom can make this useful, with tricksters getting the most fun out of it. If you were using Rushing Cleats anyway, you really want this. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Open the Gates of Battle (Ref): This power serves two purposes. At the very start of combat, this can be used to close into the core of an enemy position, or it can be used to break off one enemy and intercept a new foe. Since the latter relies on tight focus fire, the former is where you'll get the most reliably effective use. In that regard, it can be the most damaging single-target attack in the pack, and probably a no-brainer for 'I-Go-First' Githzerai. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Rising Storm (Fort, Str): Despite only having a single-target attack, the pseudo-burst damage is a cool minion-killing trick and rewards bunching up foes. Having an ally that can set up one or more enemies to be in its AoE will make this an ideal choice. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 1 Dailies
Harmonious Thunder (Fort, Str):So good it's broke, I can't safely rate this power for practical use. Assuming you can use this in strict RAW, it's effectively a free enemy murdered per day. If used with the mildest nerfing to just not allowing triggering off of itself, it's still really good. If toned down to once per turn, though, it becomes less exciting. Once it's errated, expect a more thoughtful analysis. Errata plz!
Masterful Spiral (Ref): A close burst 2 attack that deals a massive chunk of damage in itself would be a fine consideration, almost assuring you'll get FoB that turn... but one that also makes your touch attacks gain reach? While not an amazing effect in early levels, once you can get some multi-target melee attacks, it ramps to its full potential. Marauders and tricksters both might find this one useful to save or pick up via retraining into paragon tier. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster Spinning Leopard Maneuver (Ref): Assuming there's no difficult terrain (or you're an elf), and there's a lane to move, you'll have the best shot of hitting as many enemies as possible in one burst of violence. By being a series of melee attacks, you are able to apply benefits like Iron Armbands of Power you'd lose with Masterful Spiral. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Whirling Mantis Step (Fort): Compared with the other powers, this one has less burst damage potential, but does carry with it some potential absent elsewhere. Specifically, the corraling effect of the slides and the slowing rider makes it a really good enabler for pummeling a group of foes repeatedly. The positioning on its own is an action point enabler, while synergy with Polearm Momentum can make this silly for multiple rounds. The loss of a few points of damage can be more than compensated fairly for a trickster. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 2 Utilities
Careful Stride: Non-elves may like this for the Light Foot potential, especially since its wording extends its usefulness to enabling move-and-attack powers like the Spinning Leopard Maneuver which might otherwise be hobbled by difficult terrain. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Grasp the Wind: An interesting trick, being able to avoid a bad fate (being drawn to a sticky enemy, being thrown off a cliff, etc.) and use it to get a better position is nice. If your DM tends to use these sorts of tricks, then consider this a heroic-tier safety net. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Harmonious Discipline (Wis): A Centered Breath monk that gets into the fray gets a nice combo package of damage mitigation and damage boosting to help win the war of attrition. With enough Wisdom, this can even be worthwhile to some Stone Fist monks. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Supreme Flurry: In heroic tier, Stone Fist monks really like this as it can a packet of 8-12 damage you hand out for free along with repositioning. With each tier, this becomes an increasingly powerful damage bomb, especially if you or an ally sets up some enemies to max out your FoB damage spread. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 3 Encounters
Dance of Swords (Ref):The 'bravura' power of the set, the goal of the movement power is to trigger several OAs which will hopefully miss (or at least not hobble you), move into a central location, and beat the bejesus out of someone. Frankly, except for halflings and paragon+ githzerai or with ally support to weaken without preventing the OAs, this is primarily a finisher power meant to clean up a nearly-dead enemy in the midst of your AoE assault. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Enduring Champion (Fort, Wis): If you asked me to define a utilitarian hunter power, this would be it. The move action is a nice speed boost, and risking an OA or two to get the slingshot to a distant foe can throw off a DM's calculations. The attack damage is itself not bad, and the ability to not only get a saving throw with a bonus, but the possibility to convert that into more damage? Priceless. Humans are all set to be the People's Champion here, if you can smell... well, you know. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Eternal Mountain (Fort, Str): Shift 2 & resist Str all for a move action is big enough for most classes to have as a utility power, but it's attached to the only close attack in the level. With base damage equal to Dance of Swords for each target next to you, and the ability to knock them prone, this is an overall amazing workhorse power for nearly any monk. Dragonborn are legally obliged to take this power if they even look at Draconic Arrogance. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Twin Thunders (Fort): Another pseudo-multi-target attack, this one follows the trend of Open the Gate of Battle in being an opener/opportunity option. Being able to avoid OAs from a target you start by en route to another is mostly good for when you need to bail on your current enemy to bail an ally out of a bad situation. Using it to get out of the front lines into a soft support position is very hunter, but other paths would most likely use it as a way to set up for a better multi-attack power position, in which case there are better options. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 5 Dailies
Deadly Cobra Strike (Fort): This daily power does less damage than several of the encounter powers before it, is single-target, and uses the poison keyword. Short of future support or some real dedication to the serpent theme, you're advised to pass. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
One Hundred Leaves (Ref): Thunderwave Deluxe Edition here is one of the potential rewards for a trickster monk knocking about foes as he wishes. The decent base damage and boost to Flurry of Blows are solid, and for builds abusing push effects, it really shines. It's not ally-friendly, though, so be careful with that. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Steel Warrior Technique (Ref): A pretty solid base attack here also hands out a mark that creates a no-win situation, -2 to hit allies and Strength mod damage for hitting you. Brawlers will like this as a way to take pressure off of a taxed defender or for pulling a secondary foe off another ally. For everyone else, it's not that exciting. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster Supreme Avalanche Combination (Fort): As a power that encourages focusing fire in a class where that's not necessarily a primary aim, this is an odd bird. Certain builds will love this, including your standard suspects with the sliding abuse and hunters who find themselves against elites in the back line. For other builds, it will encourage counter-productive tactics, and so is a red herring. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 6 Utilities
Centered Defense: Despite the name, this power is a great stance for any monk who finds himself being attacked. Which is to say, of course, any monk. If you have allies that hand out power bonuses to defenses, this is less amazing, but even then it's worth keeping in mind if there's not an obvious critical mass of them already. Githzerai considering Mark of Warding are pre-approved to cheese out here. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Echoing Thunder: Once per encounter, knocking all the nearby enemies around can be useful. Marauders might find it necessary if their movement lines are getting clogged, and it happens to combo well with Draconic Arrogance. Tricksters in Polearm Momentum will find this a hilarious option as well. Everyone else might see a use for it once in a while, but this isn't a priority choice by default. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Leap of the Heavens: If you want to jump around a lot, you should have taken Crane's Wings as an at-will. If not, the ability to pull off one super leap an encounter might be useful, but doesn't seem worth the slot given how your attacks can cover this sort of choice. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Purifying Meditation (Wis): If you're doing a lot of controller hunting, you'll be taking save ends effects, and this with Enduring Champion definitely helps to keep you swinging. Other monks may appreciate this if there's not a save-aiding leader to help keep them active in the midst of battle. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 7 Encounters
Fist of One Hundred Strikes (Ref): The multi-attack option of the level, this one is a decent mobility enabler. A built-in shift 2 is a nice starting point, and the Dual Strike Plus & shift helps maneuver into a good position for future shenanigans. Elves have an obvious affinity here, as well as anyone taking the Mark of Passage. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter /Trickster
Grasping Tide (Ref): While not carrying a ton of damage, this is an improved Dazing Strike that also comes with a miniature grab trick in being able to drag the guy you hit a square. The moral here is to be careful where you start your turn when you use this attack, but if you can do that, it's a solid team support power. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Strike the Avalanche (Fort, Wis): If you were wondering what a trickster is all about, here you go. If your big first hit connects, you can channel your inner bowler and potentially knock down a bunch of other enemies. Polearm Momentum users will find this a potentially amazing action point enabler; everyone else will find it more situational. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter /Trickster Titan's Step(Ref, Str): All in all, this is a very solid power. The base damage is decent, and the Str-based push effect plays right into the Dragonborn's hands (claws?) while making it a tempting power for tricksters and hunters for various reasons. Marauders not yet invested in an opener power might also like this for making a badass introduction. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter /Trickster
Level 9 Dailies
Crane Dance(Ref): Sometimes, a power offers a little something for everyone. Brawlers might not find this too hot, but even they can appreciate a massive offensive surge that can potentially topple a whole crew down while opening up the field for allies to get where they need to. Hunters can use it similarly as an opener to steamroll some foes en route to the back line, and this power is basically what marauders and tricksters alike are supposed to be doing: hitting everyone and making them easier to hit. Standard synergies here include Draconic Arrogance and Mark of Passage. Brawler /Marauder | Hunter /Trickster
Relentless Hound Technique (Ref): Hunters will tend to have a problem when the terrain doesn't aid their chase of an AoE controller where all your efforts are stymied by a simple shift-and-shoot turn. While not a permanent solution, you get one turn where that won't work, and if your OAs weren't too hot, it even comes with a built-in OA+ attack that repeats the base damage of the primary attack. Decent for hunters, okay for brawlers, and shaky for everyone else. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter /Trickster
Strength to Weakness(Fort or Ref): A daily attack with no damage roll, this one might be worth using if you were looking for some saving throw abuse (maybe a fighter MC?), but other than the cinematics of the attack that only does damage some time after the hit, this is another currently worthless option. Brawler/ Marauder | Hunter / Trickster Twilight Touch(Ref): For the player who has ranged allies, Crane Dance is a mixed blessing. Twilight Touch, though, rewards finding a good clump of enemies with the blind condition on up to three enemies. Along with the slightly bigger damage output by default, this is the choice for non-combo monks. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter /Trickster
Level 10 Utilities
Internal Power: Assuming you're not going to have reliable access to long-range healing, this power can act as a pretty cool emergency surge healing action. This and a Diamond Cincture or two will let your non-dwarf monks keep on ticking well after other strikers would have to book a hasty retreat. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter /Trickster Iron Dragon Defense (Wis): Another protective trick, this one doesn't cost your healing surges, but is available more frequently. If you get through many encounters per extended rest, this is the superior option when compared with Internal Power, though the stat rider does lean it the Centered Breath monk's way. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter /Trickster Spider Technique: Thematically badass, the one hitch is that this free-climbing power relies a bit on terrain. If your DM is setting up walls and ceilings that let you think with portals, get on in here. Otherwise, look back up a bit. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter /Trickster Spring Up: Assuming you have Rushing Cleats in your feet slot already, and you're not being knocked down enough that you'd give up a utility slot or a feat slot for Agile Recovery, then this might be worth taking. Oh, and you'd have to have a reason to desperately hoard your minor actions. In fact, unless you're getting dazed and knocked prone a lot, this is worthless. And if you are, this isn't the solution. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Dance of the Stinging Hornet (Ref): A standard jump power lets you perform a flying leap onto or next to an enemy. The decent base damage proceeds into a grab that can let you ride an enemy, getting OA free movement with him at the cost of him being able to move. Another power more cinematically cool than it is effective, it's nice for brawlers looking to help lock down mobile enemies and hunters solving the shift-shoot problem. The potential use for riding an enemy into an area with his allies is just too sketchy to rely on, sadly. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster Furious Bull (Fort): The only close attack at this level, this is one beauty of a power. Each enemy you hit is slid and dazed. If you happen to be using Polearm Momentum, that's potentially a daze & prone, which is an effective stun for melee-only enemies if you and your allies cheese it from their reach. The built-in shift 2.5 (3 squares, but stuck within the burst 2 area) synergizes with that well enough, and combined with the move+2 through enemies' spaces, you have a nasty combo piece. This truly is a power which has something for everyone. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter /Trickster Overpowering Strike (Will, Wis): Hunters which find themselves isolated with their foe more often than surrounded will greatly appreciate the power strike & attack penalty pairing in this attack. Getting shift 3 on top of that makes this a close contender for them with Furious Bull. For everyone else, though, this power is just a decent backup option. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Step Between the Worlds (Will, Wis): The first power to involve teleportation is a worthy option, another potential tool for the hunter who wants to play like a pursuit avenger. You send a foe off somewhere and can follow after as a move action. Alternatively, you can chuck an interloper off to your allies and slide the foe around some more. For everyone else, this is another backup option if you keep getting surrounded. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 15 Dailies
Dancer on the Sea of Battle (Fort): Spinning Leopard Maneuver 2.0 here is a potentially amazing power for the monk, upping the damage dice a notch while adding a prone-on-hit rider. Marauders and tricksters should consider this their primary choice. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster Ring the Golden Bell (Ref): Did you ever need OA-free movement? How about auto-dazing in a close burst? Well, here you go, a two-fer that ought to excite hunter monk players greatly as well as be a tempting option for other paths. While not particularly combo-tastic, this does happen to make ranged allies working with you very happy. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Way of the Autumn Wind (Fort): While the party-unfriendly nature of this big burst attack makes it a bit trickier to use, this decently damaging auto-weakener with a stance that gives you a reaction shift-on-being-hit ability is a nice safety buffer for deep-striking marauders and tricksters. If you are having move path issues and want a bit more durability, this is your power. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 16 Utilities
Diamond Mind: Screw with enough controllers, and even the best-defended monk will eventually see the DM roll a 19 on some ridiculous stun or dominate power. Stop that in its tracks right here. A +5 untyped bonus vs. Will can guarantee most monks will avoid anything short of a crit. Brawler / Marauder |Hunter / Trickster
Master of Winds Stance: Rather than ignoring forced movement, you can use it to launch yourself around. However, since it's only good vs. enemies' forced movement, you have the double whammies of unreliable use and that you have you not be thrown somewhere terrible by the end of it. Okay if it comes up, but I don't think it's worth the spot for the hope. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Meditative Solace: As a stance, this competes with the defense boosting options as well some of the tricks in the daily powers. However, getting a save as a minor action every turn while it's up can be useful in certain fights. Primarily tempting for hunters, everyone can end up exposed to some nasty save ends effects. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Stance of the Still Sword: Another stance, this one is a little worse than Centered Defense in some ways (no Mark of Warding boost, no protection from Wizard AoEs), but better in some others (stacking with defense bonuses). Only if you're already enjoying a day's worth of stances reliably should you not seriously consider this. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 17 Encounters
Death's Chilled Embrace (Fort, Str): The necrotic damage type is a bit specious, and on its own, the damage is less than amazing. However, it greatly rewards using attacks (and only attacks) that inflict forced movement on the target. If you have some push effects handy, you can make them worth a lot more really quick, and if you have an ally or two that can join in the hacky sack fun? Golden. Its odd design means you have to take more into account than usual to rate this for your own use. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter /Trickster
Steps of Grasping Fire (Ref, Wis): This oddball power has a neat but not overly amazing attack action, a party-unfriendly blast with a reasonable fire damage packet. The real action here comes in the movement technique, though. By the DMG, the average monster's OA hit damage should be about a 2d8+7 (average of 16) around this level, which means that the damage output for them hitting you as you Flash on by will probably be greater than what you deal back (11-12). However, if they enter or start in one of the spaces you pass through, they'll take that same damage. It's here where, like Death's Chilled Embrace, you have the potential to pump out the hits with some forced movement. If you're looking for a big-risk, big-reward power, this one here's your stop. If you aren't ready to abuse this properly, it's less impressive. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Three Winds Kick (Ref, Wis): Prepare to get all Chun Li here with this teleport in, shift out pseudo-burst attack. The base damage is pretty low, but is does ignore most movement problems. Still, this isn't particularly compelling at this level. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Whirlwind Kick (Fort, Str): If 3WK there was Chun Li, this one is full-on Flash. A close burst 3 lets you pull enemies in with a successful like a weaker Come and Get It, then followed up with a fairly beefy strike. Combined with a neat fly-granting move technique makes this a beefier version of 3WK. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 19 Dailies
Angelic Legion Technique (Ref): A brutal single-target attack at its base, it also hands out a mark (save ends on a hit, one turn on a miss). The attack redirection and damage bonus it hands out is really cool for the brawler and hunter paths, the former being a way to help take pressure off a defender or play secondary defender for a bit, and the latter since it helps kill prey faster if it doesn't have a way to ignore you (and still suffers the attack penalty if it can). Unsurprisingly, marauders and tricksters can avoid this. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Duel in the Heavens (Fort): Rock Lee fans rejoice, for here's one of his signature powers. Two attacks in one power on the same target lets you deal some real damage, and the bouncing about the field is a nice way to isolate a pesky target. Your first strike is the big damage one, and the second automatically knocks the target prone, with a hit there being a decent bit of unrolled damage (so few stacking modifiers) and dazing for a turn. A cool trick for certain builds. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Inevitable Fist (Ref): The basic attack here is pretty cool, meaning that even if you somehow miss with the +2 vs. Reflex, you're only losing ~5.5 damage from the hit damage average. The real shining point here, though, is the +2 damage with your FoB for the rest of the encounter. In late paragon, this can be nearly a full 4/turn bonus with a suite of multi-attack powers to keep it firing, and in epic tier it's as big a bonus as you're able to make it be. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Rising Dragon Fire (Ref): Shoryuken! After lighting everyone in a burst 2 on fire, you get a nice 5x5 Ring of Fire that boosts your damage by 2d6 per hit. Tricksters rejoice, because this right here is why you play the way you do. Other paths aren't going to be able to access this damage as reliably, though. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
From the Chambers to the Wulin - Epic Tier Powers
Level 22 Utilities
Diamond Body: Resist 20 vs. an attack per encounter's kinda big. Assuming you're keeping your defenses up, you can roll pretty safely into the most dangerous of fights... just watch out for auras and other automatic damage sources. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Indomitable Technique: If your epic destiny doesn't have a good, early 'come back from the brink' trick, this can help you pull off action / kung fu movie dramatics when you're beat up, and get a (nearly) 2-for-1 healing surge deal on the comeback. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Mist Walker's Step: Terrain getting in the way of your quest to find a dude to beat to bejesus and back? Never fear, for now walls and enemies are no longer obstacles. Two turns of phasing per encounter can be hilarious out of combat, and lets you get into places you'd otherwise have to ignore. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Wind Walker: Light Foot! It unfortunately doesn't let you pull off double move super-flight as worded, but you never have to worry about Athletics rolls for jumping ever again. Just have a Ring of Feather Fall or a high Acrobatics score to cover those occasions when you can't quite get to a safe perch. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 23 Encounters
Fist of Golden Light (Fort): Nobody can blame you calling out "Shining Finger!" as you unleash this power, a super-charged speed boost that gives you a burst of blinding if you can connect the initial shot. As long as you can get your initial attack bonus up, this can be a hilarious opener and a nice safety trick in an ongoing fight. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Hungry Ghost (Ref, Wis): Dealing necrotic damage aside, this decently damaging power is a major survivability bump, giving a bunch of THPs on a hit and insubstantiality for a full turn as part of the move action. While good for everyone, hunters are best suited for this one, letting them get into a back line safely and handle the pummeling of a few foes for another turn or two longer. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Legion of One (Ref): A family-friendly burst 3 attack, if you can't trigger your FoB here, you need new dice... or dig up some Alternity books. The damage-per-target is a bit light, but the massive mobility that comes with the power makes it a great setup piece for the marauders and tricksters. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Sunder the Castle (Ref, Str): If it's a level of monk attack powers, it's a level where I talk about dragonborn... and this power is almost custom-made for them. The move technique is normally cute, move+4 & knocking prone guys that miss with an OA. For the dragonborn, though, that's some damage. Combine that with the otherwise decent attack damage, and you can roll out like the Arkhosian juggernaut you've become. Brawlers and marauders might otherwise like the ability to potentially shunt an enemy out of the threat zone. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 25 Dailies
Phoenix Dance (Fort, Str): When you absolutely, positively have to ignite everybody in a building, Phoenix Dance. This here's the essence of the marauder here, a solid automatic damage effect along with a pretty solid hit damage along with knocking them prone. And since it's another shift-you-speed trick, this is especially mean. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Strike of the Vulnerable Turtle (Ref): A power team-friendly brawler power, this one can greatly boost the effectiveness of a defender buddy on your primary target. Other paths might consider splashing into this for a similar effect, but it just won't generally be that hot a trick then. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Wandering Comet Strike (Ref): While not as potentially burst-tastic as Phoenix Dance, the fact that you can teleport 10 squares per target of this power means you're all but guaranteed to target three guys if they're in the fight at all. Hunters will appreciate the rocket launch potential to get to a threat, especially if someone on the way can be slid into a bad place en route. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Watchful Hydra Stance (Ref): An immensly fitting name here, as you can lash out at your enemies in a burst 3, dealing some very solid damage. The real beauty here, though, is getting the ability to pick at one more target with your FoB within 3 squares as a stance effect. Tricksters can become a veritable font of board control, making controller allies with damaging/penalizing zones your best friends. If you've kept Steps of Grasping Fire this long, you're probably wanting this to abuse it that much more. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 27 Encounters
Celestial Drunker Boxer (Will, Wis): The lack of inherent damage makes this power shaky, but the ability to potentially cause an enemy team to fight itself is pretty funny. Still, only tricksters are likely to care about this power at all. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Fist of Indomitable Iron (Ref, Str): Getting a Strength-distance, enemy-bypassing shift followed up by a Falcon Punch is by no means the worst thing one could do with a turn. Brawlers will love this for getting into flanks, and hunters might be able to steal this for their ends. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Heart-Sundering Strike (Will): The damage this power eventually does is minor, but the fact that it's a melee domination encounter power makes up for that pretty quick. Ideal for hunters that can use an enemy controller to shoot the other enemies and give themselves an OA, other paths could use this as a reasonable stopgap against a nasty foe. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Tap the Life Well (Fort): Before discussing the attack side, keep in mind that the teleportation move only requires the target be within 6 squares, so this can have a real range of 7-9 depending on the base size of the enemy you're heading to. This also applies to the teleport you can take if you hit the primary target here. The damage by itself isn't too amazing, but the potential of dazing two targets on a pair of hits is tempting, if somewhat unreliable. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Level 29 Dailies
Mist on the Storm (Ref): This power is a bit odd, but it comes with some really nasty tricks. The friendly blast effect is a decently high-damaging shot that'll also weaken everyone in it. The stance of phasing is great for enabling mobility, and the ability to trade it in for insubstantiality later makes this an all-around zany power. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Quivering Palm (Ref): Another saving throw emphasis effect, the legit base damage can go up really quick if you have enough save penalties to keep that ongoing damage inflating. Unless you've got an ally dropping penalties already, though, it's just not that reliable against the enemies you'd most want eating that damage. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Stunning Fist (Ref): The risk of dealing no damage aside, the damage on a hit is nice. Further, the secondary attack hands out a stun (save ends) on a hit. A daze or weakening effect on the miss there is okay, but fairly anti-climactic for the capstone power set. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Ghostwalker: Only the 16th level benefit cares about Wisdom, and frankly you're likely to get diminishing returns there, so any style of monk can jump in here with a modest investment. The wording of the non-AP 11th level benefit seems to allow that once you've made a stealth check against an enemy, you're always able to maintain concealment, and therefore remain hidden as you run around him in circles. For being part of stealthy strike team, this is really hot. For more standard groups, though, it's a decent path for boosting accuracy and defensive strength. (PHB3) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Initiate of the Dragon: Centered Breath monks might lose out on a smidge of the AP blast damage, otherwise this is another open path. Its blast powers are big, punchy, and team-unfriendly. Since they deal fire damage, the possibility exists of setting up allies with fire resistance to help mitigate your breathy torrents. Additionally, your own fire resistance is rewarded by letting you use resisted fire damage you took for the 11th level damage bonus. Make that tiefling fire mage your best friend. Between its damage pumps and extra mobility, this is by no means a poor choice, and it can be the catalyst for a party theme. (PHB3) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter /Trickster
Mountain Devotee (Stone Fist): The only initial PP to restrict you to one tradition, the rewards for doing so are pretty big. Depending on how you treat the +2 bonus to MUS in regard to monk powers, this part of the class is either cute or amazing on par with something like Pit Fighter, only with powers and other stuff actually well suited to you. Even in the 'cute' interpretation, a +2 to FoB damage is really nice. The AP +Str bonus is massive, and makes this a solid choice for nova purposes. Avalance Flurry is a nice backup trick in general (knocking an enemy prone to open a shift lane), but Dragonborn can mitigate the cost with Draconic Arrogance, which also happens to play nicely with both path powers. (PHB3) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Radiant Fist: Getting Channel Divinity and a free feat isn't the most amazing feature for a path to have, but it does open many doors, not the least of which is Righteous Rage of Tempus. The mix of damage boosts (radiant, at that) and resilience boosts are pretty nice. Marauders don't get enough of this to be worth it for them, but brawlers might find this one tempting if they get swarmed reliably enough. The level 20 crit boost power can make a trickster into an unstoppable glistening tank that would make Master P jealous. If you were MC'ing divine and not finding a superior PP there, why not give this a shot? (PHB3) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Ancient Traditions - Racial Paths (Sorted by Race, Black+ or Super-Niche only)
Ancestral Incarnate (Deva): While not an obvious choice, this does offer some unique benefits. The key selling point is getting to reuse an encounter power as your AP extra action. Fortunately, monks have a couple of big contenders here. The daze/stun save bonus is nice for a striker, and your daily attack is a huge burst that can potentially pull you out of a real bad spot. The remaining stuff is quirky, but if you took a Mark feat anyhow (Passage comes to mind), you can suddenly be a pretty competent ritualist if the need arises. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Scion of Arkhosia (Dragonborn): If for some wild reason you decided that a dragonborn monk who doesn't abuse Draconic Arrogance would be a good idea, this here's for you. The area damage theme of this class is very marauder in feel, and though your encounter attack is an area attack, you can still potentially risk an OA or two to make sure you get some FoB action that turn. Getting Mist Walker's Step 10 turns early is nice, and the overland flight is useful for out-of-combat applications. Overall, a worthy choice only made to suffer by not knocking more people prone. Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Twilight Guardian (Elf): While elfs happen to make pretty crazy monks, their society doesn't seem too in synch with that path. The big selling points here are getting to ignore difficult terrain forever at level 16, making you that much harder to pin down, and the AP double-roll on one guy. Ignoring concealment for a melee class is a niche trick, but a +2 to Perception helps make that more palatable. Your attacks are all about restraint, which is good for hunters and tricksters alike in locking down enemies, but the need for a mental stat for the attack roll means your Stone Fist elves are out of luck. (PHB2) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Scion of Absence (Genasi): Already a good aspect for survivability, this path blurs the line between hunter and brawler a bit, allowing a Stone Fist beatstick to venture deeper into combat and mess some stuff up or just be that much safer in the main front. Wearing the Void is a sexy utility, and the daze-or-damage stance is also fairly good (though it will almost always end up dealing the damage). The encounter attack that removes a foe for a turn is a good trick for brawlers and hunters alike, and your benefits help act as further deterrents from having anyone mess with you ever. (Dragon 380) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Wildfire Genasi (Genasi): If Flaming Shoryuken Rising Dragon Fire just isn't enough Ken-tastic action for you, consider this one. Massive, friendly burst attacks almost ensure your FoB for those turns, and the power tricks are nice add-ons. The real selling point here is the damage you grant for being hit by a melee attack. Swarmed marauders and brawlers will greatly appreciate this, even if it doesn't give as solid a damage boost as some other paths. It really shines in a fire-theme grouping. (FRPG) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Rrathmal (Githzerai): A paragon path meant to represent mind flayer hunters, eh? The key selling point here is the Rrathmal Pursuit power. You never again have to worry about your controller or artillery foe breaking away and not letting you take an OA at him if he dares shoot someone. The fact that you can shift your speed is even better, letting you deal with skirmishers and lurkers with shift tricks as well. Trace Chance is a nice trick for boosting accuracy and damage in one go, and Vengeance Shround is a slick damage burst that can be useful to drop early so allies can get some assured hits in. The other benefits add up to dealing well with hobbling effects, and so this is a quite solid Gith hunter path. (PHB3) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Halfling Scoundrel (Halfling): It's time to get your diminutive drunk boxer style on. The path's benefits are all pretty niche, though a single-target monk might appreciate the AP-as-attack-fixer trick they have, letting you ensure an Angelic Legion Technique or the like sticks when you need it to. The daily power is the real selling point here, though, basically a super-charged, markless ALT. It has to go for you if nobody's closer, you have an untyped bonus to defenses against it, and you get a retaliatory strike on it if it dares swing only to miss. Not generally great, this does have a powerful niche application for the monk that's looking to minor in defender. (PHB2) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster Adroit Explorer (Human): One of the key selling points of this path is getting that extra encounter power, and fortunately for you, there's no lack of amazing choices. A human hunter getting Enduring Champion twice per encounter with any of the human's saving throw love basically makes you a nigh-unshakeable killing machine, and other paths have similarly powerful options. The mix of resilience and accuracy bumps are appreciated all around, and the extra AP can be really sweet with Action Surge. (PHB2) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Bloodfury Savage (Half-Orc): While a fairly specific path, this one has solid benefits for a brawler/marauder monk. A big speed bonus off an AP lets you make a big ring with the shift-and-strike powers to get where you want or to circle back on your main foe. The resist for being bloodied is a randomly useful safety net, and your utility power helps makes you a bigger threat once per day, ideal for the monk that dabbles in marauder tactics. To that end, the brawler emphasis comes in the attack powers, giving focused damage buffs that are perfect for moving down a big monster faster. (PHB2) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Avenging Haunt (Revenant): While revenants can freely grab paths from any race, this one offers some interesting tactical applications. A few rounds per day of phasing and insubstantiality can be a life-saver, and since you're rewarded for riding the short train to Deadsburg, keeping that buffer from 0 HP to dead up is worthwhile. Combine all that with punishing retribution on your attacks, and you can be pretty safe out there on your own. (Dragon 376) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Abiding Reaper (Shadar-Kai): Several components of this path are useful to a monk. Multi-attacking builds will likely fire off the CA-for-bloodying benefit many times a day, which is great given how those builds are generally less likely to get CA from other means. The AP bonus is quirky but can help a lot when it does, particularly for hunters. Hardened Spirit it perhaps the key selling point, though, giving out temps when an attack misses your Fort or Will; Dex/Wis/Con Centered monks can get a lot of extra survivability out of this. Your encounter attack is a bit of team support, and your other powers are more survivability boosts. If you're light on leaders, this can be a solid choice. (Dragon 372) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Shard Disciple (Shardmind): As a race, the Shardmind isn't an exciting option currently, but its racial power does synergize well with being a trickster, and the big boost to that power here can be really nice. Use your perfected Shard Swarm when you're locked in the middle of the group to find a spot where your 'shift-and-attack' power can get you in on all of them, and go wild. The quasi-insubstantiality for using an action point is likewise a good way to keep safer after going supernova. The attacks here stradle the hunter/trickster line, being good for isolating one foe or making a mess of a field of enemies - the friendly difficult terrain feature is really nice for keeping foes tied up for more rounds of Drum Solo Hero. (PHB3) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Moonstalker (Shifter): Thriller! Embrace the wolf and show those dragonborn they're not the only ones who can party with the prone powers. Admittedly, Pack Tactics is on its own worse than Draconic Arrogance, but if you can get a buddy to help bowl foes over, you can be a pretty sexy striker/leader. Overall, a quirky choice, but one that offers a ton of potential in the right party, and one that can be really silly for revenant DB/shifters (doable with some finesse). (PHB2) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Warforged Juggernaut (Warforged): While not a perfect fit for the monk, Stone Fist builds can get some benefit out of this. Crag of Steel is a powerful stance, giving a punishing automatic damage output along with forced movement resistance and damage resistance. The charging theme here doesn't synergize well with your class bonuses, but it does allow for a marauder with a brawler minor to get from foe to foe, and the AP benefit means you can use a charge as the setup for a big strike and still have the ability to maneuver after. (EPG) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Nature's Avatar (Nav'i Wilden): Normally, your average wilden monk will be caught choosing between the Hunter and Ancient aspects, the former for the eponymous path and the latter for the trickster's burst attack theme. Sadly, unless you take Melee Training to make your MBA bonus better, the +1 to hit while bloodied benefit comes at the sacrifice of the otherwise slick power. Still, getting an effect +Wis to your surge value is nice for the trickster with a leader buddy to keep him alive. Likewise, tricksters will love the Action-Healing-Surge built into the path, hopefully spreading that +2/+2 around as much as possible. Any way to get your second wind as less than a standard action becomes gold for you. Your ability to get extra riders on your at-will attacks is useful for hunters and tricksters alike, and the selectivity of options can help serve various ends. (PHB3) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Exotic Styles of Secret Schools - Other Paths of Note (Sorted by Class, Black+ or Super-Niche only)
Favored Soul (Avenger): A quirkier option, this one suits well a particular sort of hunter, one whose damage is fine but needs a bit of mobility and resilience. The stance utility power conflicts with the slick defensive utilities the monk can drop, but +Wis mod regen is nice, and getting the surge heal off an action point is helpful for the monk out there on his own. Of course, a natural fly speed also comes in handy when dealing with vertical terrain and such. (DP1) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Stonefire Rager (Barbarian): No, seriously. The chief selling points here: +2 damage and resist 10 fire while bloodied isn't the greatest damage boost, but it's there when you need it. Unlike an actual barbarian, the 'cost' on Serenity of Stone to be a cheaper Stoneskin is almost negligible, and that resist 10 all can keep you safe while bloodied to pump out that damage longer. For that matter, your Krakatoa! rage daily is really nice for a class that can maneuver itself to hand out 5-9 damage a turn to several enemies for an encounter. If you came to the class for Berserker's Fury, you might want to stay for this. (PP1) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Kensei (Fighter): It is perhaps unsurprising that an Eastern-flavored fighter paragon path could be a really tasty option for monks as well. A +1/+4 bonus with a chosen weapon is pretty boss, especially since it can be your Monk Unarmed Strike as easily as it can be an actual weapon. The powers are generally pretty cool: the encounter attack's chaff, but the -level damage is useful, and the daily attack is a more controllery shift-and-strike power than monks usually get. Dragonborn marauders will love this one. (PHB1) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Pit Fighter (Fighter): Unlike the avenger, the monk doesn't have to seriously consider as the only path to moar damage. In fact, it's possible the wording of the level 16 benefit doesn't even let it work with implement powers, in which case bail out now. Assuming your DM clears it so it's a useful damage pump, use the sub-ratings below. Your benefits encourage a spread-the-love strategy, while your powers are mostly focus-fire. Humans or anyone else walking multiple paths can make this particularly nice; however, you really need a decent Strength and Wisdom to milk the most out of this one. (PHB1) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Shock Trooper (Fighter): Your monk unarmed strike starts off as a longsword. You can upgrade that to a bastard sword with a heroic tier feat. For the monk that's getting a lot of OAs or doing something quirky like a fighter hybrid or a half-elf with Twin Strike, the idea of having one-handed greatswords can be pretty amazing. Sadly, this has no effect on your monk powers. Fortunately, the Dex mod bonus per turn vs. a CA-granting target does help you out. Though not a great general choice, its tricks and focus-fire powers make it really tempting for certain veins of brawlers and hybrids. (MP1) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Blade Banshee (Ranger, Eladrin): Uhm... dag, yo. So, you have to be an eladrin, but this path solves the Pit Fighter problem - as long you're wielding two melee weapons, you can get a +Wis mod thunder damage bonus. If we can assume Monk Unarmed Strike counts, it's always on for you. If not, you'll have to settle with a longsword and dagger, which you'd probably want anyhow (Starblade Flurry and all that). The powers are nice (note: Steel Scream doesn't get the L16 damage bonus, but I suspect you'll care little), and the only sacrifice you make here is the matter of almost never giving out the -2 to hit penalty from Bladed Disruption. It's a rather conditional path, but this really puts Eladrin on the map for damage-dealing monkdom. (MP1) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Blade Dancer (Ranger): Anything you lose in the damage bonus granted at level 16 is instantly washed away by the massive surge in defensive strength multi-attacking monks receive; +1 AC just for showing up at level 16, and a potential +2/+2 in AC & Ref if you can make at least two melee attacks connect in a turn. No Five Storms abuse here, sadly, but you ought to have enough encounter / daily multi-taps to keep your defenses up when you need it. Go dual dagger, and you're good to go. (MP1) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Daggermaster (Rogue): Since you can use a dagger as an implement, the low damage die size doesn't hurt you at all for the main point of this PP - cheesing crits through multi-attack powers. Critical Opportunity might occasionally be tricky to use if you crit someone early with a shift-and-strike or out of reach with a burst/blast, but it's still an on-stat minor action attack... which the monk doesn't yet get. Your daily and utility powers are alright, though definitely not highlights of the path for you. (PHB1) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Death Dealer (Rogue): I admit a bit of bias here because No Respite is a really good teamwork benefit, making any foe take a -2 to saves while next to you, meaning your lockdown controllers will love you. That aside, this is a pretty useful path, a little light on the damage with that dagger (or feat) requirement on the powers, but a nearly guaranteed +Str mod THP each turn is sweet for the marauder with an eye on survivability, and you should likewise get Gruesome Kill off at least once per encounter, often more. (MP1) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Secrets of the Sifu - Epic Destinies (Sorted by Class, Black+ or Super-Niche only)
Demigod / Chosen: Welcome to gee whiz, the default option for anyone reaching level 21. The obvious benefits here are many: +1 to hit & damage for your rising Dex, the +1 damage / target from the secondary stat increase, the death safety net, the reuse of a key encounter power, and the regen utility. All in all, this is the one-stop-shop for a monk who's just in need of big basic boosts. On the Chosen front, some gods provide tempting utilties:
Anthem of Progress (Erathis): Crits on 16+ for everyone's at-wills once/day is potentially bombastic. You and your swordmage buddy can go nuts with burst spams, as well as anyone else with an abuseable at-will.
High Arcana (Corellon): If you aren't getting +accuracy power bonuses, may as well get a +2 for every attack this encounter, which is swappable each turn for a +4 NAD boost instead. And it's for your allies too.
Sheltering Wings (Bahamut): Handing out two surges-worth of free healing to yourself and an adjacent ally can be slick.
Tempus's Glare (Tempus): If you were boosting up your defenses already, why not make everyone pay for failing to touch you?
In simple terms, you should be taking this unless there's a specific synergy or theme elsewhere. (PHB1 / FRPG) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Diamond Soul (Monk): The loss of the secondary stat bonus and the safety nets is compensated here with some nfity tricks. The reserve power one is probably worthless unless you have some forewarning on what you're likely to face, in which case you might be able to tweak defense targetting for that purpose. The speed & shift bonuses are nice, making you a speedster extraordinaire, and a level 30 per-round reroll is pretty sexy. Still, it seems the Celestial Bureaucracy is the better goal for the ambitious monk. (PHB3) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Fury of the Wild (Primal): A boost to your secondary stat isn't going to go to waste with multi-attackers, and likewise that fat crit damage boost can be really sexy with your big attacks. In fact, marauders and tricksters that can get into this might actually want this over Demigod in the right party. Specifically, if you're doing well on the healing side, you might be able to afford the loss of the Dex mod to attacks & defenses to get the bigger burst effects. (PP1) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Glorious Spirit (Primal): Hunters that can manage to meet the requirement here will greatly appreciate the extra damage boost vs. their primary foe, giving them a ranger-like trick that stacks with FoB. Overall, it really helps reinforce the theme for a hunter in a way that's ironically more useful for them than any primal classes out there so far. (PHB2) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
God Mind (Psionic): This one's a bit tricky, but there's some interesting stuff you can do to tweak this one up. Vulnerable 5 psychic can be nice with a githyanki silver dagger to beef up single-target damage, and it can be teamwork tech a'la the Radiant Mafia. Dwarves or monks with items/powers to get faster access to second wind can potentially get a lot of reroll action at level 24, which can be worth that +2 Dex from Diamond Soul if used right. The power points aren't so great, though a hybrid build can put them to use, and floating points might prove useful in later supplements; also, you only suffer that loss for one level. Finally, getting back all your dailies for a rip-roaring nova encounter isn't bad either. (PHB3) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Prison of the Winds: With a primary stat boost and one that's great for Centered Breath monks (and okay for Stone Fist ones), it's off to a good start. With the speed bump, you're already nearing Diamond Soul for quality. The other benefits are nice, and it's worth noting that there's a good bit of prone-knocking here for the Dragonborn fans. The style of the destiny is pretty hot, very Naruto-and-Kyuubi animutastic, if you're into that. (Dragon 371) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Punisher of the Gods: Not a great choice for the average monk, the saving grace here is that it synergizes pretty well with the hunter concept, what with the save bonus vs. a main target and the daily that knocks enemies away from you. For a hunter, this might actually be a superior choice than demigod. For everyone else, though, it's not as hot.(Dragon Annual 2009) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
Raven Knight (Raven Queen): With a simple requirement to meet for standard games, this path is a surprisingly nice option for your goth-ish monks. The +Dex & +Con is solid, the speed bonus a nice add-on, and the -2 for adjacent enemies trying to attack you is also solid, and that's all just level 21. The real selling point might well be the utility power, giving your multi-attacks a huge damage boost that can make you a reaper of souls. (Dragon 380) Brawler / Marauder | Hunter / Trickster
"The Banshee" (Eladrin, Ranger): The trick with this concept is that you must be an eladrin that MC's ranger to go this route. The upside here is that you have some solid tricks and can invest in your ki focus while your +1 enhancement weapons ride for the whole of the game. Of course, a conundrum arises with the fact that the damage benefits for Blade Banshee uses your Wis mod while the powers require Strength. Until Psionic Power resolves this issue, the matter that many of the best multi-attack powers for the monk are not melee ones makes it less desirable to pump Wisdom over Strength. Therefore, I currently recommend Stone Fist monks for this build.
FEATS Level 1: Versatile Expertise Level 2: Warrior of the Wild Level 4: Unarmored Agility Level 6: Moon Elf Resilience Level 8: Mark of Passage Level 10: Two-Weapon Fighting Level 11: Starblade Flurry Level 12: Weapon Focus (Heavy Blade) Level 14: Paragon Defenses (retrained to Robust Defenses at Level 21) Level 16: Agile Athlete Level 18: Two-Weapon Defense Level 20: Secret Stride Level 21: Stone Fist Master Level 22: Unfettered Stride Level 24: Slashing Storm Level 26: Long Step Level 28: Flanking Maneuver Level 30: Superior Initiative
POWERS Monk at-will 1: Five Storms Monk at-will 1: Crane's Wings Monk encounter 1: Open the Gate of Battle Monk daily 1: Whirling Mantis Step Monk utility 2: Supreme Flurry Monk encounter 3: Eternal Mountain Monk daily 5: One Hundred Leaves Monk utility 6: Centered Defense Monk encounter 7: Fist of One Hundred Strikes Monk daily 9: Crane Dance Monk utility 10: Iron Dragon Defense Monk encounter 13: Furious Bull (replaces Open the Gate of Battle) Monk daily 15: Dancer on the Sea of Battle (replaces One Hundred Leaves) Monk utility 16: Stance of the Still Sword Monk encounter 17: Three Winds Kick (replaces Eternal Mountain) Monk daily 19: Rising Dragon Fire (replaces Whirling Mantis Step) Monk utility 22: Diamond Body Monk encounter 23: Legion of One (replaces Fist of One Hundred Strikes) Monk daily 25: Phoenix Dance (replaces Crane Dance) Monk encounter 27: Fist of Indomitable Iron (replaces Three Winds Kick) Monk daily 29: Mist on the Storm (replaces Rising Dragon Fire)
ITEMS Monk Unarmed Strike, Ki Longsword +1, Rhythm Blade Dagger +1, Iron Body Ki Focus +6, Battle Harness Starweave Armor +6, Scarab of Invulnerability +6, Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier), Sandals of Avandra (epic tier), Shadow Band (epic tier), Ring of Eladrin Grace (paragon tier), Circlet of Indomitability (paragon tier), Gauntlets of Blood (paragon tier), Diamond Cincture (paragon tier), Breakchain Tattoo (paragon tier)
Pushover (Dragonborn/Revenant, Fighter): If you noticed earlier in the guide my references to dragonborn spear-fighters, here's what I had in mind. Some notes: the basic spear is not a polearm, so you'll need Weapon Training to take advantage of stuff like Hafted Defense or Polearm Gamble. Your power selection is a little tricky going up the ranks, but you're generally well covered on powers which push/slide/prone until the upper epic tier, where you currently don't care about those powers too much.
POWERS Monk at-will 1: Crane's Wings Monk at-will 1: Five Storms Monk encounter 1: Drunken Monkey Monk daily 1: Whirling Mantis Step Monk utility 2: Supreme Flurry Monk encounter 3: Eternal Mountain Monk daily 5: One Hundred Leaves Monk utility 6: Echoing Thunder Monk encounter 7: Strike the Avalanche Monk daily 9: Crane Dance Monk utility 10: Iron Dragon Defense Monk encounter 13: Furious Bull (replaces Drunken Monkey) Monk daily 15: Dancer on the Sea of Battle (replaces Whirling Mantis Step) Monk utility 16: Stance of the Still Sword Monk encounter 17: Death's Chilled Embrace (replaces Strike the Avalanche) Monk daily 19: Duel in the Heavens (replaces Crane Dance) Monk utility 22: Wind Walker Monk encounter 23: Sunder the Castle (replaces Eternal Mountain) Monk daily 25: Phoenix Dance (replaces Dancer on the Sea of Battle)
ITEMS Monk Unarmed Strike, Lightning Greatspear +6, Displacer Starweave Armor +6, Periapt of Cascading Health +6, Gauntlets of the Ram (heroic tier), Rushing Cleats (heroic tier), Siberys Shard of the Mage (epic tier), Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier), Essence of the Wisp (epic tier), Diamond Cincture (paragon tier), Shadow Band (epic tier), Ring of Ramming (paragon tier), Tattoo of Arcane Blood (paragon tier)