Dev Update #32 - Monks: If you got a butt I'll kick it!

Tactical SatrianuM
Level 3
Tactical Adventures Dev
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1 month ago (edited)

Hey there folks!

We're back with more information about the upcoming Inner Strength DLC (which releases November 14th), this time featuring the Monk! The perfect opportunity to make references to dumb (but fun) kung fu movies. But before that, here are some of our new hires!


Say hello to Selma and Zelda, our two newest fluffy and adorable hires! 


I know Kung Fu

If I ask you which class runs around half-naked on the battlefield while smashing enemies left and right, you say... Barbarian, okay I guess that's correct too. But hear this - you want to go even faster? Punch people in the face and kick them in the nuts instead of relying on a big chunk of metal to swing around? Well look no further than Monks. These expert martial artists are simply the fastest among all existing classes, and although they are less durable than most other front liners their speed allows them to quickly get in and out of combat. Each of their strike may not deal large amounts of damage, but they can be empowered with Ki to add debilitating effects, such as the infamous Stunning Strike (which makes many DMs weep for their boss monsters). 


First drafts of the Monk outfits

Starting at level 1 Monks get access to Unarmed Defense, allowing them to add their Wisdom modifier to their Armor Class as long as they are not wearing armor. They also get their class-defining feature Martial Arts, which grants them scaling damage when fighting unarmed (from 1d4 at level 1 to 1d8 at level 11), allows them to use Dexterity instead of Strength for those attacks and gives them the ability to do an additional unarmed strike with a bonus action.


Your face to my foot style!

At level 2 Monks get a passive movement speed increase (from +2 cells at level 2 to +4 cells at level 10) with the Unarmored Movement feature, making them the fastest of all classes. They also unlock a pool of Ki points, which is the class resource Monks spend to use most of their powers. By using 1 Ki point and their bonus action, they can use Flurry of Blows to make two additional unarmed strikes, Patient Defense to Dodge, or Step of the Wind to Disengage or Dash and double their jump distance. 

At level 3 Monks commit to a Monastic Tradition, which unlocks their Subclass features. They also get Deflect Missiles, which allows them to use their reaction to lower the damage they take from ranged weapon attacks. If Deflect Missiles lowers the damage to zero, a Monk can even spend 1 Ki point to return the projectile to their attacker


Excuse me sir I believe that's yours.

At level 4 Monks get access to Slow Fall, greatly reducing fall damage and allowing them to get back up on their feet immediately after falling. 

At level 5, Monks get an Extra Attack like most other martial classes, but they also unlock the bane of all Dungeon Masters... Stunning Strike. By using 1 Ki Point, they can force any creature they hit to roll a Constitution saving throw or be stunned for 1 round. This is where I remind you that Monks can attack 4 times per round thanks to their Flurry of Blows, meaning there is a very high chance whoever they're targeting is in for a very bad time. 


Kill bosses with this simple trick! DMs hate it!

At level 6 Monks gain Ki-Empowered Strikes, making their unarmed strikes count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity.

At level 7 Monks gain access to Stillness of Mind, making them immune to the charm and frighten conditions


More color sketches to work on the Monk outfit

At level 10 Monks gain Purity of Body, making them immune to disease and poison. That's a lot of immunities! 


Way of the Open Hand (SRD)

Open Hand Monks are honed martial artists who can easily take control over the battlefield. Their signature Open Hand Technique automatically adds one of three effects when they use Flurry of Blows - they can either knock their target prone, shove them away or prevent them from taking reactions. At higher levels, they get Wholeness of Body which allows them to heal themselves once per long rest, and with Tranquility they can spend 1 Ki point to cast Shield. 


Way of Survival (Homebrew)

For Survival Monks, the best offence is a strong defense. With Defensive Stance, they get a bonus +2 AC when not wearing any armor - and they have advantage on attack rolls as long as they are under the effect of Patient Defense. At level 6 they unlock Unbreakable Body, which further enhance their toughness. Patience Defense now also grants resistance to all damage, and taking damage makes you heal a small amount of HP at the start of your next turn. At level 11, Survival Monks turn resilience into power with Unmoving Strength to add their Constitution modifier to unarmed strikes damage rolls. 


Way of Light (Community)

The winner of the Wishing Well, Light Monks are specialized against creatures who dwell in the dark - such as Soraks! They learn the Light and Shine cantrips with Luminous Ki, and creatures hit by Flurry of Blows automatically start emitting bright light. This enables their level 6 feature Radiant Strikes, which adds radiant damage to each of their attacks when hitting enemies under the effect of Luminous Ki or Shine. Lastly at level 11 they get Blinding Flash, which allows them to use 2 Ki points and their bonus action to deal radiant damage and blind enemies surrounding them. 


Way of Freedom (Lost Valley)

Freedom Monks are a tempest of blows flying accross the battlefield. With Swift Steps, Flurry of Blows grants them the effect of Dash for free and advantage of their next attack. At level 6, Swirling Dance allows them to use their reaction to counterattack right after an enemy misses them with a melee attack. And at level 11, Unending Strikes improves their Flurry of Blows to attack three times instead of two.

Alright folks, this is the end for today! Next time we'll be talking about the Warlocks. Thank you for reading, and don't hesitate to drop by our Forums or our Discord Server.

Article by Tactical Myzzrym

Mister00ps
Level 11
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1 month ago

I can wait for testing the Way of the LIght Monk!


Quoi que tu dises, quoi que tu fasses... I speak bad English... so what?

TomReneth
Level 14
1 month ago (edited)

I have to commend TA for making a Monk that actually looks usable. Way of Survival looks pretty neat. Everything else looks like it will run into the usual problem of being worse than other classes that Monks suffer from.


Typos happen. More so on the phone.

1 month ago

I really like the changes to Stillness of Mind and Tranquility.

Dartanyin
Visitor
1 month ago

Are monks not getting evasion in Solasta? I don't see them mentioning it.

Mister00ps
Level 11
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1 month ago

Are monks not getting evasion in Solasta? I don't see them mentioning it.

I agree with your comment, I hope it's just an oversight but I doubt it. However, the monk class does not need to be weakened...


Quoi que tu dises, quoi que tu fasses... I speak bad English... so what?

DonStefan
Level 3
1 month ago

This looks great and I like the class thematically. But there's an almost unanimous opinion in the DnD crowd that Monks are the worst class. Does the Solasta rendition do anything to make the Monk a little more on par with other classes?

I've never played a 5e Monk myself, but here's some ideas that might "fix" the class in a simple manner:

- Just give them 1 or 2 more AC on top of WIS and DEX over the course of the level ups, like it is in 3.5e

- Make the unarmed damage dice a little higher

- Give them a little more ki points


Afaict these would be enough to fix the class. It seems like the class feats are all fine, it's just that the numbers don't compare well to other classes. So... just increase the number, right?

But take this with a couple grains of salt since I'm only basing this on hear-say tbh.

Mister00ps
Level 11
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1 month ago

This looks great and I like the class thematically. But there's an almost unanimous opinion in the DnD crowd that Monks are the worst class. Does the Solasta rendition do anything to make the Monk a little more on par with other classes?

I've never played a 5e Monk myself, but here's some ideas that might "fix" the class in a simple manner:

- Just give them 1 or 2 more AC on top of WIS and DEX over the course of the level ups, like it is in 3.5e

- Make the unarmed damage dice a little higher

- Give them a little more ki points


Afaict these would be enough to fix the class. It seems like the class feats are all fine, it's just that the numbers don't compare well to other classes. So... just increase the number, right?

But take this with a couple grains of salt since I'm only basing this on hear-say tbh.

Do you mean a little like that?

"For Survival Monks, the best offence is a strong defense. With Defensive Stance, they get a bonus +2 AC when not wearing any armor - and they have advantage on attack rolls as long as they are under the effect of Patient Defense. At level 6 they unlock Unbreakable Body, which further enhance their toughness. Patience Defense now also grants resistance to all damage, and taking damage makes you heal a small amount of HP at the start of your next turn. At level 11, Survival Monks turn resilience into power with Unmoving Strength to add their Constitution modifier to unarmed strikes damage rolls. "



Quoi que tu dises, quoi que tu fasses... I speak bad English... so what?

1 month ago (edited)

This looks great and I like the class thematically. But there's an almost unanimous opinion in the DnD crowd that Monks are the worst class. 

There are two main issues with monks in PnP. The main one is short rests tend to occur less frequently, and long rests more frequently, than designed. So short rest classes like monks suffer in terms of power.

The way Solasta restricts long rests should make this less of an issue.

The other issue is that monks are very very good at stun-locking bosses (and burning through Legendary Resistance). You might think this is a good thing, but in practice it makes them a one-trick pony, and very boring to play. In my PnP games I tend to dish out stun resists to some bosses, but RAW stun resistance is very rare.

Mister00ps
Level 11
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1 month ago

The other issue is that monks are very very good at stun-locking bosses. You might think this is a good thing, but in practice it makes them a one-trick pony, and very boring to play. In my PnP games I tend to dish out stun resists to some bosses, but RAW stun resistance is very rare.

A highlight of the class that becomes boring, the irony of your analysis is biting :D


Quoi que tu dises, quoi que tu fasses... I speak bad English... so what?

DonStefan
Level 3
1 month ago

Ok, you two make good cases here. I surely need to play a Monk anyway just because of the animations

Mister00ps
Level 11
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1 month ago

Ok, you two make good cases here. I surely need to play a Monk anyway just because of the animations

All the honor is ours :-)


Quoi que tu dises, quoi que tu fasses... I speak bad English... so what?

TomReneth
Level 14
4 weeks ago


...The other issue is that monks are very very good at stun-locking bosses (and burning through Legendary Resistance)...

Are they? I always found Stunning Strike to be very unreliable, because it takes its DC from Wisdom, uses Dexterity for the attack roll and targets Constitution, which most boss type enemies tend to have pretty good scores in.

Honestly, from a risk/resource/reward standpoint, I think Stunning Strike is probably only on par with grappling/shoving. At least that is resource free and can build everything into one stat (strength (athletics)) as opposed to two (dexterity and wisdom), and typically targets something most monsters are fairly bad at (athletics and acrobatics). 


Typos happen. More so on the phone.

Mister00ps
Level 11
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4 weeks ago (edited)


...The other issue is that monks are very very good at stun-locking bosses (and burning through Legendary Resistance)...

Are they? I always found Stunning Strike to be very unreliable, because it takes its DC from Wisdom, uses Dexterity for the attack roll and targets Constitution, which most boss type enemies tend to have pretty good scores in.

Honestly, from a risk/resource/reward standpoint, I think Stunning Strike is probably only on par with grappling/shoving. At least that is resource free and can build everything into one stat (strength (athletics)) as opposed to two (dexterity and wisdom), and typically targets something most monsters are fairly bad at (athletics and acrobatics). 

As Frostyfardragon said, it's very effective. I can only give you the example of my paper role-playing game table. A  level 6 monk managed to stunt a young blue dragon on the first hit, with a barbarian and a paladin who reduced him to 10 PV right behind (yes , my players are nags without finesse).



Quoi que tu dises, quoi que tu fasses... I speak bad English... so what?

TomReneth
Level 14
4 weeks ago


...The other issue is that monks are very very good at stun-locking bosses (and burning through Legendary Resistance)...

Are they? I always found Stunning Strike to be very unreliable, because it takes its DC from Wisdom, uses Dexterity for the attack roll and targets Constitution, which most boss type enemies tend to have pretty good scores in.

Honestly, from a risk/resource/reward standpoint, I think Stunning Strike is probably only on par with grappling/shoving. At least that is resource free and can build everything into one stat (strength (athletics)) as opposed to two (dexterity and wisdom), and typically targets something most monsters are fairly bad at (athletics and acrobatics). 

As Frostyfardragon said, it's very effective. I can only give you the example of my paper role-playing game table. A  level 6 monk managed to stunt an adolescent blue dragon on the first hit, with a barbarian and a paladin who reduced him to 10 PV right behind (yes , my players are nags without finesse).


I know stun is a good status effect. I am thinking more about the reliability. Spells tend to be reliable for effects like "restrain (save) + difficult terrain (no save)", so they aren't entirely wasted. I only found "Young Blue Dragon", so I am assuming that is what you meant (and not the wyrmling), who have +8 con saves.

A lvl 6 monk has +3 proficiency. Assuming a wisdom of 16, that is a DC check of 14 (8+3+3). That means a Young Blue has to roll a 6 or higher to succeed. That's 75% chance of wasting the ki, or on average 4 points of ki per stun on this creature. Even having a 20 wisdom score only improves it to 1/3 chance to stunning. And you only get to try to stun the creature if you land an attack, so there is RNG even on when you can try to crowd control.

So it seems you got very lucky (which happens), and there's nothing wrong with playing high risk characters, but Stunning Strikes doesn't seem very reliable to me. Which is a major design problem with 5e, because a lot of control spells are very reliable. 


Typos happen. More so on the phone.

Mister00ps
Level 11
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4 weeks ago


...The other issue is that monks are very very good at stun-locking bosses (and burning through Legendary Resistance)...

Are they? I always found Stunning Strike to be very unreliable, because it takes its DC from Wisdom, uses Dexterity for the attack roll and targets Constitution, which most boss type enemies tend to have pretty good scores in.

Honestly, from a risk/resource/reward standpoint, I think Stunning Strike is probably only on par with grappling/shoving. At least that is resource free and can build everything into one stat (strength (athletics)) as opposed to two (dexterity and wisdom), and typically targets something most monsters are fairly bad at (athletics and acrobatics). 

As Frostyfardragon said, it's very effective. I can only give you the example of my paper role-playing game table. A  level 6 monk managed to stunt an adolescent blue dragon on the first hit, with a barbarian and a paladin who reduced him to 10 PV right behind (yes , my players are nags without finesse).


I know stun is a good status effect. I am thinking more about the reliability. Spells tend to be reliable for effects like "restrain (save) + difficult terrain (no save)", so they aren't entirely wasted. I only found "Young Blue Dragon", so I am assuming that is what you meant (and not the wyrmling), who have +8 con saves.

A lvl 6 monk has +3 proficiency. Assuming a wisdom of 16, that is a DC check of 14 (8+3+3). That means a Young Blue has to roll a 6 or higher to succeed. That's 75% chance of wasting the ki, or on average 4 points of ki per stun on this creature. Even having a 20 wisdom score only improves it to 1/3 chance to stunning. And you only get to try to stun the creature if you land an attack, so there is RNG even on when you can try to crowd control.

So it seems you got very lucky (which happens), and there's nothing wrong with playing high risk characters, but Stunning Strikes doesn't seem very reliable to me. Which is a major design problem with 5e, because a lot of control spells are very reliable. 


In fact it was very easy for my players because the 4th was a diviner who used his level 2 omen ability to change the dragon's roll to a 2... My players are brutal but there is at least one cunning one.


Quoi que tu dises, quoi que tu fasses... I speak bad English... so what?