Tuesday, December 15, 2009

D&D Lookit: The Monk

Well, it appears that the good folks at Wizards of the Coast have finally gotten one of D&D's fabled classes right in Fourth Edition: The Monk. The monk will appear in Player's Handbook 3 next year, but has already been included in the Character Builder for DDI subscribers (yes, I drank the Kool-Aid).

Fourth Edition is perfectly suited for the monk, and makes good use of powers. The monk is highly mobile (something I miss from First Edition) and has numerous powers to make the character more competent at early levels. One nice addition is the flurry of blows which the monk can use after any successful melee attack to deals 2 plus Wisdom modifier damage to any adjacent creature the player chooses. Also nice is the fact that the monk seldom needs to hit against Armor Class, but more often versus Fortitude or Reflex, making the monk's attacks more like the Melee Touch Attacks of Third Edition.

I have only played the monk twice, both with an identical character as an NPC. They are very effective when played in the proper challenge range, but can be killed quite easily by overt threats. The first time I used one was fighting for the party against goblins with great success. The second time was against the party as part of a monster encounter. The party of fifth levels too this monk out in two rounds.

My typical build so far:

Human Monk

Feats: improved initiative and pointed step style. Pointed Step Style allows you to use your flurry of blows with a spear, and attack a target up to two squares away.


Crane's Wings: (at-will vs Fortitude) 1d10 base damage and push target 1 square. Associated movement allows you to jump as with a running start with a +5 bonus.

Five Storms: (at-will vs Reflex) 1d8 base damage to all adjacent creatures. Associated movement allows you to shift two squares.

Dragon's Tail: (at-will vs Fortitude) 1d6 base damage and target is knocked prone. Associated movement allows you to switch places with the prone enemy.

Drunken Monkey: (encounter vs Will) 1d8 base damage and target is pushed one square. It then makes a basic melee attack against one of its adjacent allies. Associated movement is your speed +2. Ignore difficult terrain and Wisdom Mod bonus to all defenses against opportunity attacks.

Whirling Mantis Step: (daily vs Fortitude) Shift up to your speed and push every enemy one square. At the end of the shift deal 2d10 damage to up to three adjacent enemies, and they are slowed... Though I may have interpreted that incorrectly. Perhaps you deal damage to up to three of the enemies you pushed?

I am looking forward to playing a monk sometime as a regular character. There are additional powers already, and they get pretty cool looking as you advance in level.

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