Thursday, May 7, 2020

Dungeons & Dragons Character Tactics: Monk

What role does the monk play in the party?

Often there is competing ideas for your character- how you want to play them, or if experienced know how to play them vs. what the party expects. Clerics are a GREAT example- you might want to play your cleric as a holy crusader of Helm, while the party views you little more than a heal-bot.

As a player who regular plays both a human monk- Tozen Iraeus, and a dragonborn monk- Kzin Kzinti (respect to Niven), I find that many players view the monk as just another fighter/barbarian/paladin. Run up and punch things.

Once could do this, but is it optimal and do you have a few rezez ready for me? First point to keep in mind is that a monk requires a bit more planning vs. a fighter or barbarian who remain consistent in their power levels and what they can take on in terms of damage output and taking damage through the levels. A monk starts of weak, and grows in power, but that power is never RAW power as in a fighter’s damage dice output, or a spell caster’s magic output.

The monk is more like a rogue- you have some interesting options and hitting power, but you need to be in the right place at the right time to make it work- and for the monk that is speed and evasion at its core. I’m a second line “fighter”- the fighter and barb going toe-to-toe with the Dungeon Master’s dice kings, I’ll jump in and add some more hits to even out the fighter’s low damage rolls, or I’ll chase down some of the lesser monsters in the encounter that need to be dealt with, but are not worth taking the fighter away from.

My nature above average speed gets me there, and at the medium levels evasion help not to worry when you take that splash dice damage. Playing a monk is OK at the lower levels, but like her/his incarnations though all the versions of D&D, and AD&D the monk is best at higher levels.

Stunning blow and quivering palm now allow you to change the flow of battle- and change that flow by again using speed and evasion. At those levels I use my monk to fight the Dungeon Master, target the person behind the screen, and not the monsters they command. A wizzy with lots of minions and mobs- can I get to him and land a stunning blow?

Even if the chances of it are low, once I make my move, the DM will have to react. Try and punk something with quivering palm- which got LEGIONS better now in 5th. No longer all or nothing, at least you do some damage if failed- solid damage which means even if your DM will chance it on the dice the options are bad or really bad if I hit.

Again, once I make my move, can the DM afford for my hits to land?

Saving throws, the dice, can be a cruel mistress. In a campaign setting playing a monk means you have more bling to spend on magic trinkets and wonders items. Getting a deck of many things suddenly becomes a lot more easier.

Warrior types need to be spending their coin to make sure their primary weapons are appropriate for the character level and challenge rating- can’t be a 8th level dude rolling into battle with a +1 sword. Magic arms and armor get expensive, and the bulk of money goes towards this. Same with a magic-user type.

Unless you have a DM that hands toys out like crazy, buying higher level spells is $$$. Sorcerers are not exempt either as they spend the coin for backup wands, rods, and spell storage items. Beyond some strength and dexterity boosting gear the monk is open game with where they want to spend their gold.

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