From what I’ve gathered, the monk’s primary use is against spellcasters, which makes sense due to their high saves, stunning fist ability that spellcasters have higher chances of being hit with, spell resistance, damage penetration and movement speed. Sure, spellcasters are more powerful on the server due to their “authentic” behavior when it comes to using their spells properly against a group of players but basing a class on defeating a rare type of opponent feels a little too specific especially because a little strategy between players can overcome the need for a monk. Most of the other classes are relevant most of the time, and no one is ever going to be able to replace the need for a heavy armor/tower shield fighter, or the need for the vital buffs of a wizard, or the divine magic of a cleric.
Basically, monks are expendable when it comes to fighting spellcasters, their favored enemy.
Secondary they’re supposed to function correctly as flankers from what I’m told. Flurry of blows, high damage, extra unarmed attacks and circle kick help a lot with that, which is great. But there’s some things that make flanking very difficult. Attacks of Opportunities are a big problem. You can shift-walk in position but character pathfinding often makes your character run toward an opponent who suddenly became out-of-range, which triggers an AoO from literally every hostile monster around you. Without uncanny dodge (other classes that have access to it have a level requirement varying between 2 and 3. Monk is the only class with it that only gets access to it at level 8) your AC is terrible against people flanking you because since you cannot use armor, your AC comes from DEX and WIS. Without uncanny dodge, there is no DEX added against characters flanking you. There’s two ways to overcome this drawback of flanking, and that’s using two-three feats to achieve Mobility or Spring attack if you’re really dedicated or investing in improved expertise (which requires a lot of intelligence for a class that already has two primary stats and contradicts the use of being a flanker).
This sheds some light on the bigger issue that monks have. The class is simply too static in its playstyle and in character builds. In example, a tank can always switch to a two-handed weapon if their tower-shield isn’t needed anymore to get extra damage. And even without it they would still be capable of dishing out a lot of damage. A ranger can always switch reliably between ranged and melee, even in spite of their choice of combat style at level 2. But the monk is always going to be using 0 AC armor, and doesn’t benefit much from using anything other than unarmed or a crossbow. And with few feats, there’s not much room to customize the class.
You can build a monk to tank but he will never compete with heavy armor.
You can build a monk to flank but he will never compete with a sneak attacks and won’t deal with missteps as well as a warrior-type character that isn’t flanking.
You can’t build a monk to use stunning fist reliably because even with a 16 wis mod and max level, your DC is at an average 17 which makes it very situational.
Feel free to agree or disagree, and I’d love to hear what anyone else thinks, but the tl;dr version is that monks are made on TER to fulfill an expendable roll and lack the options of customization that the other classes have. They’re an expendable one trick pony.
My main suggestion would be lowering the level at which they acquire Uncanny Dodge, because it’s a vital part of their defense. I’ve come across the Quintessential Monk sourcebook that has a lot of ideas regarding monk-feats and I think it could be interesting to create a bundle of them that monks can pick and choose from every other level or so, just like a fighter, to allow more freedom over character builds.
Some suggestions of monk-specific feats, directly from the Quintessential Monk book that could be modified for the sake of NWN mechanics:
- Break the breath: Your stunning attack is particularly potent.
- Prerequisites: Wis 15+
- Benefit: You add 2 to the save DC for your stunning attack.
Crowd Fighting: Your combat savvy and dexterous footwork makes you difficult to pin down in combat.
• Prerequisites: Dex 15+, Dodge, Mobility or Circle Boxing, BAB +4
• Benefits: You are not considered flanked unless you are within the threatened areas of three or more foes. To be considered flanked, the attackers must meet the normal requirements for flanking, however an additional opponent must be threatening you for you to be considered flanked. If three or more opponents threaten you, only those who would normally be considered flanking gain the benefits for flanking, including Sneak Attack opportunities. An exception to this are rogues of at least four higher levels than you, who can flank as normal.
Elusive Grappler: You rely on quick techniques, rather than powerful ones, when grappling.
• Prerequisites: Dex 13+
• Benefits: You can apply your Dexterity bonus, rather than your Strength, in all grappling checks.
Iron Body: After years of diligent practice and great hardship, you have boosted your body's pain tolerance to an incredible degree.
• Prerequisite: Great Fortitude
• Benefits: You reduce the damage from critical hits and sneak attacks by 1 point per damage dice. Additionally, when reduced to 0 hit points or less, you have a 20% chance to stabilize each round, rather than 10%.
Source: http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/The_Quinte ... Monk_Feats
I’m not an expert on mechanical balancing and I’m not asking for the class to simply be buffed because it’s too weak. I know others have mentioned that they think the class is simply underpowered because of its item dependency that cannot be fulfilled on TER but that’s not the point here.
Thanks for bearing with me through this wall of text but I thought it was necessary to understand the reasoning behind these suggestions. Any comments or additional suggestions are welcome so I’d welcome everyone to share their point of view.