Most Optimal Monk Build?

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Princess
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Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by Princess » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:22 am

Pre Monk rework was the 20 monk/ 10 rogue that is listed in the cookie cutter build section.

After the monk rework it was good to go 30 monk.

After the nerfs, is it still okay to go 30 monk? I was trying to go unarmed and didn't know to go full 30 monk or do the 20 monk/ 10 rogue build.

Astral
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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by Astral » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:18 am

The cookie cutter builds are, for now, considered obsolete because of the big change to scrolls. Its really impossible to say right now what is good, mostly because there are expected to be following updates. For myself, I shelved the monk and left it at lvl 2 and I think I'm going to wait and I recommend it greatly. I dont think there's any solid build anyone can give you right now that is guaranteed to be relevant in the near future. 20/10 is just as good as any, which is a shot in the dark. It is my assumption that if things continue on this course, 20 monk, 5 shadow dancer, 5 fighter, will replace the 20/10.
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malcolm_mountainslayer
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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by malcolm_mountainslayer » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:23 pm

Depends on weapon style.

Edodge monk is still very solid purely due to getting epic dodge and skill points can help with having lore for scrolls. But witj umd no longer needed you can do builds without umd. (Rogue has defensive roll and umd. Also speed now maxes out before even reaching monk 20 so the 16monk/ fighter or ranger/ 10 rogue Edodge monk probably works better as it helps you dual wiekd with feats and all and nets you 16 pre epic ab

a monk assassin build (heavy assassing for defensive roll to unlock epic dodge) going unarmed or qaurterstaff can be good. (Dual wield kamas if small). I think there is a buikd out there with 3 monk \19 rogue\ 8 fighter or sometjing along those lines which gets a lot of attacks with lots of sneak damage with epic dodge and crippling strike (one thing assassin variant would not get).

Monk fighter combos can be solid for fist a cuffs due to scaling bonuses with unarmed damage, epic weapon spec and more pre epic ab (24 monk/6 fighter as an example).

But yes, waters can be mucky if its a rebuild situation with you.

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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by Astral » Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:00 am

malcolm_mountainslayer wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:23 pm
Depends on weapon style.
OP says unarmed.
malcolm_mountainslayer wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:23 pm
16monk/ fighter or ranger/ 10 rogue
This is a terrible advice. Builds with 20 monk lvls were always considered superior to builds with 16/4 spread and I dont see how that's any different now. Losing perfect self for 1 apr on a character that can already reach 7 apr unarmed is a bad deal.
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RedGiant
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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by RedGiant » Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:52 am

Sadly, we are back to monks almost needing to multiclass to be great...and at the heart of this is epic dodge. The easy fix here would have been to simply give monks defensive roll at some point in their progression, but, as it stands now, you are at the mercy of the feat's steep vanilla requirements.

Epic Dodge: 21st level, dexterity 25+, tumble 30 ranks, improved evasion, defensive roll
9 monk and 10 rogue levels, or
9 monk and 5 shadowdancer levels.

So, if you are intent on going unarmed, then we are back to several well-heeled choices.

20 Monk / 10 Rogue is an old standard. It still maintains access to UMD, some nice sneak, free weapon finesse, and, if you are not an elf already, keen senses. Front-load 3 rogue if you do this; it will give you the weapon finesse when you need it and the crazy rogue starting skill point bonuses (assuming positive intel).

I guess a case could be made for a 25 Monk / 5 Shadowdancer too, if you had the odd urge to focus on what is now breachable SR. It has (compared to the 20/10) a small +1 unarmed AB bonus, +1 monk AC bonus, +1 epic monk bonus feat, full SR progression, & HiPS.

As Astral has said, though, I think 20 Monk/5 Fighter/5 Shadowdancer might be the new overmatch in the post UMD era. Assuming you take at least 4 Fighter in pre-epic levels, it has (compared to the 20/10) +1 AB, +1 Extra attack, +3 Fighter Bonus Feats, +1 Fighter AC, and HiPS. (You could also reasonably do a 21Monk/4 Fighter/5 Shadowdancer if, for some odd reason, you wand to trade +1 Fighter AC for +1 SR.)

In either of the later cases, not having wands may hurt, but if you program the lore for scrolls, throw in some potion chugging, and some nice loot finds...I really think you will be okay.

In all cases unarmed, if you could shoe-horn in 21 wisdom for the two ki-strike feats, you can up the damage on this by another 4. This is possible, but now in the 2 -gift era...to meet the 25 Dex/21 Wis requirements...you may end up with something too frail or stupid to be great.

I could make a case for some other interesting monk builds, but they center on weapons.
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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by Astral » Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:26 am

RedGiant wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:52 am
As Astral has said, though, I think 20 Monk/5 Fighter/5 Shadowdancer might be the new overmatch in the post UMD era. Assuming you take at least 4 Fighter in pre-epic levels, it has (compared to the 20/10) +1 AB, +1 Extra attack, +3 Fighter Bonus Feats, +1 Fighter AC, and HiPS. (You could also reasonably do a 21Monk/4 Fighter/5 Shadowdancer if, for some odd reason, you wand to trade +1 Fighter AC for +1 SR.)
Actually what I had in mind is 20 monk > 4 fighter > 5 sd > 1 fighter and I will explain why.

What you effectively get by taking 4 fighter lvls is 1 bab and therefore 1 extra apr and weapon specialization. Considering the build can easily reach 7 apr already, I dont consider this a huge difference, however +1 ab is indeed meaningful. If you take the fighter lvls post epic you will be able to afford more of the following feats: Epic weapon focus, weapon specialization (This one can be taken pre-epic), epic weapon specialization, armor skin, epic prowess, blinding speed, epic dodge, epic skill focus and possibly great dex depending on your score. Without post epic fighter lvls you can take only 4 of them. For most monks it will be epic weapon focus, armor skin (or great dex instead), blinding speed and epic dodge, leaving you feat starved without epic specialization and epic prowess (which would negate the lose of bab) and either dex or armor skin (again, depending on your dex score), which kind of defeats the purpose of taking fighter to begin with. You can, I guess, trade blinding speed for epic spec and take 4 fighter pre-epic that way, if you over value this 8th attack.

Investing 21 wisdom and 2 epic feats for ki +4 and +5 is an utterly garbage investment.
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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by RedGiant » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:51 am

I generally agree about the ki-strike thing, though I have an old three-gift monk who took them. Its really a niche thing, but some dedicated Kaster-Killer type might take it for the assurance of punching straight through a premonition. Plus, wholeness of body on a 30+ wisdom monk feels like a heal potion and, lets face it, high wisdom makes every fisted gimmick that much better.

While I see the allure of what you are saying about epic feats, with the availability of weapon specialization on a discipline granting belt, I might be tempted to two-stat that and forget it. (Yes, this precludes the acolyte sash, but that thing grants listen, not discipline, and here every point counts IMO.)

I also see the thing about feat starvation. I would take these as mandatory.
EWF: Unarmed
ESF: Discipline
Epic Dodge
+ (?)

I personally wouldn't mess with blinding speed, especially in the era of speed caps. A stack of haste potions is fine. You could still pick up armor skin, epic prowess, or another epic skill focus...which, if you are building for high-end scroll use, would have to be Lore.

Here, what you suggest would still be bound by the fighter bonus feat list. Furthermore, since you are taking all your fighter levels after 20, two of them would have to be weapon specialization (you cant take that until fighter lvl 4) and epic weapon specialization. That leaves one feat for either epic prowess or armor skin. If you take the epic prowess, this merely returns you to the AB of my suggestion, with one less attack. If you take armor skin, you have one less AB, one less attack, and two more AC.

So, while the loss of 4 damage on the build I suggest hurts (from not having EWS), I've been in too many 20 only battles not to prioritize the extra APR...especially when you're talking about the monk progression. The real difference here is that you can possibly build a more defensive build the way you suggest. But also, these fighter bonus don't disappear. If you take them early, I would assume you are spending them wisely.

In short (and without a tl;dr), I still think I might roll with something like 16 Monk > 4 Ftr > 5 SD > 4 Monk > 1Ftr.

I still think you are right about the build, we're just down to quibbling about the spread.
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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by Astral » Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:09 pm

RedGiant wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:51 am
I also see the thing about feat starvation. I would take these as mandatory.
EWF: Unarmed
ESF: Discipline
Epic Dodge
+ (?)
That's what I meant when I said you still CAN take 4 fighter pre-epic. I'd say the final feat there should be armor skin OR great dex, depending on your dex score. A human monk needs 25 dex for edodge so they will start with 18 dex (with gift) starting with any more than that will cripple them either in con (dont touch my con), wisdom (I already start with 12 wisdom, I wont have 9 wisdom on a monk) or having or 9 str which is masochism. So I think it's safe to say all dex monks who build for edodge will require a great dexterity feat to even their dex to 26. So by not taking the fighter lvls post epic you will need that "(?)" lvl 30 feat to be dexterity. So what did we trade over all. We lost blinding speed, armor skin and epic specialization. What you earn is basically 8th attack and that's it without the ab (because prowess). It doesnt worth the 2 ac, 4 damage and a cast of 3 minutes haste you dont need to break stealth or spend a full round action to do. That's all I'm saying.
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malcolm_mountainslayer
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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by malcolm_mountainslayer » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:17 pm

Astral wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:00 am
malcolm_mountainslayer wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:23 pm
Depends on weapon style.
OP says unarmed.
malcolm_mountainslayer wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:23 pm
16monk/ fighter or ranger/ 10 rogue
This is a terrible advice. Builds with 20 monk lvls were always considered superior to builds with 16/4 spread and I dont see how that's any different now. Losing perfect self for 1 apr on a character that can already reach 7 apr unarmed is a bad deal.
I guess i never cared for perfect self and still salty about sr and speedcaps. Also having the extra attack from pre epic ab versus activating flurry of blows is effectively 3 more ab which is a big deal when you are doing 7 attacks. With speedcaps and breachable SR i see little incentive for 20th lvl monk. You will already have good will saves and can just use clarity potions and the 20/+1 DR is a very niche pve thing. I feel like im only missing out 1 bonus ac.

I am glad others are here to help more though.

*edit*
I also did not take into account what a lvl 20 monk gets vs 16 for unarmed bonuses.

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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by Astral » Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:14 pm

malcolm_mountainslayer wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:17 pm
I guess i never cared for perfect self and still salty about sr and speedcaps. Also having the extra attack from pre epic ab versus activating flurry of blows is effectively 3 more ab which is a big deal when you are doing 7 attacks. With speedcaps and breachable SR i see little incentive for 20th lvl monk. You will already have good will saves and can just use clarity potions and the 20/+1 DR is a very niche pve thing. I feel like im only missing out 1 bonus ac.
Have you played a monk recently and got late game gear? Their only reliable save is reflex. It took me 2 rings of fort +2 and other items with fort just to get 30 fort. If I had to gear will save too I would be at the mercy of Clarity cooldowns. Monks have niche monk items and 3 attributes to max. I promise you that you will have even less gear slots for uni-save than even other builds with 3 important attributes to boost (which are mostly divine classes with no save issues anyway). Now, about the apr thing. You might be right. I cant really argue with that because I dont have calculation written but I do remember that the extra attack is a 6th normal attack at -15 bab so if anything it just pushes your high ab attacks to earlier in the round and adds one more that you'll likely miss. Is that really a meaningful thing? It doesnt really sound like it to me. Might be meaningful to VERY skilled players with very quick thinking in combat but I doubt it. Specially when what is on the line is a lot of juicy epic feats you really want.
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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by malcolm_mountainslayer » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:08 pm

Astral wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:14 pm
malcolm_mountainslayer wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:17 pm
I guess i never cared for perfect self and still salty about sr and speedcaps. Also having the extra attack from pre epic ab versus activating flurry of blows is effectively 3 more ab which is a big deal when you are doing 7 attacks. With speedcaps and breachable SR i see little incentive for 20th lvl monk. You will already have good will saves and can just use clarity potions and the 20/+1 DR is a very niche pve thing. I feel like im only missing out 1 bonus ac.
Have you played a monk recently and got late game gear? Their only reliable save is reflex. It took me 2 rings of fort +2 and other items with fort just to get 30 fort. If I had to gear will save too I would be at the mercy of Clarity cooldowns. Monks have niche monk items and 3 attributes to max. I promise you that you will have even less gear slots for uni-save than even other builds with 3 important attributes to boost (which are mostly divine classes with no save issues anyway). Now, about the apr thing. You might be right. I cant really argue with that because I dont have calculation written but I do remember that the extra attack is a 6th normal attack at -15 bab so if anything it just pushes your high ab attacks to earlier in the round and adds one more that you'll likely miss. Is that really a meaningful thing? It doesnt really sound like it to me. Might be meaningful to VERY skilled players with very quick thinking in combat but I doubt it. Specially when what is on the line is a lot of juicy epic feats you really want.
Taking 4 fighter pre epic will also boost your fort a bit.

16 monk 4 fightrt 10brogue is pretty pointless in that you still wont get epic weapon spec.

Like 16 monk 4 champion of Torm and 20 rogue can net you better saves.

Could also go 4 ranger archer path and have fun shuriken side option.

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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by Princess » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:14 pm

Thanks everyone! I would give 20/21? monk/ 4 fighter and 5 SD a try!
I just don't know when to take what, so if someone can help me with that I would really appreciate it! :)

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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by Astral » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:34 am

Princess wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:14 pm
Thanks everyone! I would give 20/21? monk/ 4 fighter and 5 SD a try!
I just don't know when to take what, so if someone can help me with that I would really appreciate it! :)
I'm assuming human.
str 12
dex 16 (+2 gift, +7 from lvls, +1 great dexterity = 26)
con 14
wis 12
int 14
cha 8
second major gift is wisdom or constitution. There will be differences in opinions about this one so just go with your heart.

You take 20 monk first.
Pre-epic feats: weapon finesse, expertise, improved expertise, blind fight, dodge, mobility, improved critical.

epics!
21 - fighter - epic weapon focus, great dexterity
22 - fighter - armor skin
23 - fighter
24 - fighter - weapon spec, epic weapon spec
25 - sd
26 - sd
27 - sd - epic prowess
28 - sd
29 - sd
30 - fighter - epic dodge

*on 5th fighter there a +1 ac bonus so that's why you take only 20 monk.

For skill points you want 33 discipline, 33 heal, 30 tumble, 33 lore, 32 hide, 32 move, 5 points left.

EDIT: Just reading my own build made me realize how badly monks need to get defensive roll for free at around lvls 20-25. This dependency on classes with defensive roll is just ridiculous.

EDIT 2: swaped toughness for weapon finesse. Good eyes RedGiant
Last edited by Astral on Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by RedGiant » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:04 am

Astral wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:34 am
EDIT: Just reading my own build made me realize how badly monks need to get defensive roll for free at around lvls 20-25. This dependency on classes with defensive roll is just ridiculous.
True that.

Astral's build is good.

Here is mine prioritizing # of attacks and high-end scroll use. I will be honest, I didn't think too long or hard about race choice here, but I snapped up a Wild Elf for the free toughness feat, high dex, and associated other goodies.

Race: Wild Elf
(Gifts: Dex, Wis, +4Hide/MS)
Stats:
Str: 8
Dex: 17 (19) + 7 = 26
Con: 14
int: 14
Wis: 14 (16)
Cha: 8

Skills:
Disc: 33
Disable: 1
Heal: 32
Hide: 33
Lore: 33
Move: 33
Open: 1
Tumble: 30

Levels:
1 Monk - Expertise
2 Monk
3 Monk - Weapon Finesse
4 Monk
5 Monk
6 Monk - Improved Expertise
7 Monk
8 Monk
9 Monk - Skill Focus: Lore*
10 Ftr - Blind Fight
11 Ftr - Improved Critical: Unarmed
12 Ftr - Dodge
13 Ftr - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed
14 Monk
15 Monk - Mobility
16 Monk
17 Monk
18 Monk - Great Fortitude*
19 Monk
20 Monk
21 SD - EWF: Unarmed
22 SD
23 SD
24 SD - ESF: Discipline
25 SD
26 Ftr
27 Monk - E. Dodge
28 Monk
30 Monk - ESF: Lore*

Feat List:
Expertise
Improved Expertise
Blind Fight
Dodge
Mobility
Great Fortitude*
Skill Focus: Lore*
Improved Critical: Unarmed
Weapon Finesse
Weapon Specialization: Unarmed
EWF: Unarmed
E.Dodge
ESF: Discipline
ESF: Lore*
Free: Toughness, Trackless Step, Track

*Feats you could swap out if you want to prioritize other things.

Without save gear:
Fort - 29
Refl - 30
Will - 24

Some will say low str is masochism. I say, drink a str potion...and later get a few of the many items that cast bull's str. This build prioritizes number of attacks, early combat effectiveness, and high-end scroll use. In fact, my opinion on the new scroll use is you really need to go all the way, or just don't bother. There is also no detection in this build, assuming it will be provided by scrolls of true seeing.

I personally think this build is more long term fun with the high-end magic use. It also is much earlier effective at the great things you want to do (HiPS +e.dodge).

Finally, at end run gearing and only minimal potion buffing, I got...without haste...54 AC (up to 64AC with IE), 520HP, and 43AB. AB is always the problem on fisted monks, thus why I like more attacks.
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Re: Most Optimal Monk Build?

Post by malcolm_mountainslayer » Thu Nov 14, 2019 6:45 pm

RedGiant wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:04 am
Astral wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:34 am
EDIT: Just reading my own build made me realize how badly monks need to get defensive roll for free at around lvls 20-25. This dependency on classes with defensive roll is just ridiculous.
True that.

Astral's build is good.

Here is mine prioritizing # of attacks and high-end scroll use. I will be honest, I didn't think too long or hard about race choice here, but I snapped up a Wild Elf for the free toughness feat, high dex, and associated other goodies.

Race: Wild Elf
(Gifts: Dex, Wis, +4Hide/MS)
Stats:
Str: 8
Dex: 17 (19) + 7 = 26
Con: 14
int: 14
Wis: 14 (16)
Cha: 8

Skills:
Disc: 33
Disable: 1
Heal: 32
Hide: 33
Lore: 33
Move: 33
Open: 1
Tumble: 30

Levels:
1 Monk - Expertise
2 Monk
3 Monk - Weapon Finesse
4 Monk
5 Monk
6 Monk - Improved Expertise
7 Monk
8 Monk
9 Monk - Skill Focus: Lore*
10 Ftr - Blind Fight
11 Ftr - Improved Critical: Unarmed
12 Ftr - Dodge
13 Ftr - Weapon Specialization: Unarmed
14 Monk
15 Monk - Mobility
16 Monk
17 Monk
18 Monk - Great Fortitude*
19 Monk
20 Monk
21 SD - EWF: Unarmed
22 SD
23 SD
24 SD - ESF: Discipline
25 SD
26 Ftr
27 Monk - E. Dodge
28 Monk
30 Monk - ESF: Lore*

Feat List:
Expertise
Improved Expertise
Blind Fight
Dodge
Mobility
Great Fortitude*
Skill Focus: Lore*
Improved Critical: Unarmed
Weapon Finesse
Weapon Specialization: Unarmed
EWF: Unarmed
E.Dodge
ESF: Discipline
ESF: Lore*
Free: Toughness, Trackless Step, Track

*Feats you could swap out if you want to prioritize other things.

Without save gear:
Fort - 29
Refl - 30
Will - 24

Some will say low str is masochism. I say, drink a str potion...and later get a few of the many items that cast bull's str. This build prioritizes number of attacks, early combat effectiveness, and high-end scroll use. In fact, my opinion on the new scroll use is you really need to go all the way, or just don't bother. There is also no detection in this build, assuming it will be provided by scrolls of true seeing.

I personally think this build is more long term fun with the high-end magic use. It also is much earlier effective at the great things you want to do (HiPS +e.dodge).

Finally, at end run gearing and only minimal potion buffing, I got...without haste...54 AC (up to 64AC with IE), 520HP, and 43AB. AB is always the problem on fisted monks, thus why I like more attacks.
I like this build except some can't figure out where to get said potions outside of hin town

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