Monk

Monks are those who have spent their lives pursuing inner peace and discipline, honing their bodies and minds to perfection. They practice martial arts as an outward embodiment of this discipline – the movements help to focus their minds and tone their bodies, and the rigorous training reinforces their dedication to perfection.

Adventures: Monks join adventuring groups in order to see new places, face opponents against whom they can test their skills, and search out lost or unknown fighting styles. Monks are welcome, as their knowledge and fighting skills complement both the wizard and the fighter. The rigors and hardships of travel with an adventuring group do not bother the monk, who is used to a Spartan existence and enduring hardships to strengthen herself.

Characteristics: Strength of will and agility are the primary characteristics of the monk, as well as cryptic sayings and intricate tattoos. Monks are known for strange and diverse fighting styles that raise the physical abilities of a normal mortal to near supernatural levels.

Alignment: Monks cannot be chaotic, as they must maintain strict mental and physical discipline. This does not translate into following all of the laws of the land; instead, their personal philosophy is of personal discipline and rigorous training of the body and mind. A chaotic outlook on life goes directly against this, but someone who seeks balance in all things can still have discipline in her life.

Religion: While many monkish orders are based around religion, not all are; some even actively seek to destroy religious organizations.

Background: Monks are usually trained in monasteries, academies, or remote temples from a young age , taught the precepts of the fighting arts while they are raised. Some cities have monastic orders who will take in those interested in learning the fighting arts (not necessarily at a young age).

Races: Of all the races, humans seem to take to the monkish arts the best, with dwarves and half-orcs a close second.

Other Classes: Monks get along with nearly all classes, though their serenity, inner peace, and discipline tend to grate on those of more chaotic bent, like barbarians.

Role: The monk is a second-line fighter or a fast-moving striker who can disable opponents or otherwise set them up for others to finish off.

Game Rule Information

Abilities: Dexterity is most important to the monk, as it provides a greater AC bonus and improves many of their skills. Strength helps a monk's combat capability, and Constitution gives them more hit points. Depending on the monk's fighting style, any other stat can be important.

Alignment: Any non-chaotic.

Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills

The monk's class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Heal (Wis), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana, religion) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str).

Skill Points Per Level: 4 + Int modifier



Table 1: The Monk
Level Base
Attack Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special Flurry
Attack Bonus
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Flurry of blows, awareness of self,
unarmed combat
-2/-2
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Fighting style acolyte -1/-1
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Evasion, slow fall 20 ft. +0/+0
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Ki strike (+1) +1/+1
5th +3 +2 +4 +4 Bonus feat +2/+2
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Slow fall 30 ft. +3/+3
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Wholeness of body +4/+4
8th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Fighting style initiate, ki strike (+2) +5/+5/+0
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Slow fall 40 ft., bonus feat +6/+6/+1
10th +7/+2 +4 +7 +7 Uncanny dodge +7/+7/+2
11th +8/+3 +4 +7 +7 Purity of body +8/+8/+8/+3
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Slow fall 50 ft., ki strike (+3) +9/+9/+9/+4
13th +9/+4 +5 +8 +8 Bonus feat +9/+9/+9/+4
14th +10/+5 +5 +9 +9 Fighting style mastery +10/+10/+10/+5
15th +11/+6/+1 +6 +9 +9 Rapid flurry, slow fall 60 ft. +11/+11/+11/+6/+1
16th +12/+7/+2 +6 +10 +10 Ki strike (+4), improved uncanny dodge +12/+12/+12/+7/+2
17th +12/+7/+2 +6 +10 +10 Bonus feat +12/+12/+12/+7/+2
18th +13/+8/+3 +7 +11 +11 Slow fall 70 ft. +13/+13/+13/+8/+3
19th +14/+9/+4 +7 +11 +11 Timeless body +14/+14/+14/+9/+4
20th +15/+10/+5 +8 +12 +12 Fighting style grandmastery, ki strike (+5) +15/+15/+15/+10/+5


Class Features
All of the following are class features of the monk.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Monks are proficient with any three weapon groups. They are proficient with martial weapons, but not any armor or shields.

Awareness of Self (Ex): When unarmored and unencumbered, the monk gains a +3 insight bonus to AC, as she is always ready to avoid any threats to her well-being. She loses this bonus when immobilized, helpless, or unconscious, when wearing any armor or carrying a shield, or when carrying a medium or heavy load. This bonus increases at different rates for each style, as noted on Table 3.

Flurry of Blows (Ex): When unarmored, a monk can strike with a flurry of blows at the expense of accuracy. When doing so, she can make one extra attack in a round at her highest base attack bonus, but this attack takes a -2 penalty, as does every other attack made that round. The resulting modified base attack bonuses are shown in the Flurry Attack Bonus column on Table 1. This penalty applies for 1 round, so it also affects attacks of opportunity the monk might make before her next action. When a monk reaches 5th level, the penalty lessens to -1, and at 9th level it disappears. She must use a full attack action to strike with a flurry of blows.

When using flurry of blows, a monk can attack only with unarmed strikes or special monk weapons (kama, longspear, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken). She can attack with unarmed strikes and special monk weapons interchangeably as desired. When using weapons as part of a flurry of blows, a monk applies her Strength bonus (not Str bonus x1.5 or x1/2) to her damage rolls for all successful attacks, whether she wields a weapon in one or both hands.

In the case of the quarterstaff, each end counts as a separate weapon for the purpose of using the flurry of blows ability. Even though the quarterstaff requires two hands to use, a monk can still intersperse unarmed strikes with quarterstaff strikes, assuming that she has enough attacks in her flurry of blows routine to do so.

Unarmed Combat: At 1st level, a monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A monk's attacks can be with either fist interchangeably, or even from elbows, knees, and feet. This means that she can make unarmed strikes even with her hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed - she applies her full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all her unarmed strikes.

Usually a monk's unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but she can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on her attack roll. She has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling. Her unarmed strike is treated as a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve weapons, and it deals more damage than a normal person's, as shown on Table 2.

Table 2: Monk Unarmed Damage

Unarmed Damage
Level Small Medium Large
1st–3rd 1d4 1d6 1d8
4th–7th 1d6 1d8 1d10
8th–11th 1d8 1d10 2d6
12th–15th 1d10 2d6 2d8
16th–19th 2d6 2d8 2d10
20th 2d8 2d10 3d6

Fighting Style: All monks are taught how to fight. At first, it is just the basics, but when they reach 2nd level, they must choose a specific style. The styles are keyed to the elements (Air, Earth, Fire, Water) or Shadow.

Monks often identify themselves by name and their rank in their chosen fighting style. For instance, Jalya, a 10th level monk with the Sun style, would be "Jalya, Initiate of the Sun Style."

The various fighting styles are listed here.

If the monk reaches Grandmaster rank in a fighting style, she can choose further abilities from the same fighting style at later levels, or train in a new style entirely. She cannot train in more than two styles without taking the Martial Arts Grandmastery feat, however.

Evasion (Ex): If a monk makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a monk is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless monk does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Slow Fall (Ex): A monk within arm's reach of a wall can use it to slow her descent. When first using this ability, she takes damage as if the fall were 20 feet shorter than it actually is. The monk's ability to slow her fall (that is, to reduce the effective distance of the fall when next to a wall) increases by 10 feet every three levels – 30 feet at 6th, 40 feet at 9th, etc.

Ki Strike (Su): At 4th level, a monk's unarmed attacks are empowered with ki. Her unarmed attacks are treated as magic weapons of the listed bonus for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction, and for their effective bonus (i.e., a monk with ki strike +2 has a +2 enhancement bonus to attacks and damage with his unarmed attacks). Ki strike improves with the character's monk level. At 8th level, they become +2 weapons; at 12th, +3; at 16th, +4, and at 20th, +5. (See Damage Reduction for more details.)

Fast Movement (Ex): A monk gains an enhancement bonus to her speed, as noted on Table 3. A monk in armor (even light armor) or carrying a medium or heavy load loses this extra speed.

Bonus Feat: At 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th levels, a monk can choose from a list of bonus feats, depending on her particular fighting style (see below). If she is trained in more than one style, she can choose from any of the appropriate style lists. She must fulfill the prerequisites normally.

Wholeness of Body (Su): At 7th level or higher, a monk can heal her own wounds. She can heal a number of hit points equal to three times her monk level each day, and she can spread this healing out over several uses, as long as the total amount of hit points healed doesn't exceed her maximum.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A monk can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.

If a monk already has uncanny dodge from a different class, she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.

Purity of Body (Ex): Due to their diet and rigorous training, monks are more resistant to normal poisons and diseases than most people. They gain a +4 resistance bonus to saves vs. both.

Rapid Flurry (Ex): At 15th level, a monk can make her flurry of blows as a standard action instead of a full-round action.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A monk of 16th level or higher can no longer be flanked. This defense denies a rogue or other character the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker's base attack bonus is four or more points than the monk's.

If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class, she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum base attack bonus required to flank her.

Timeless Body (Ex): Upon attaining 19th level, a monk no longer takes penalties to her ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that she has already taken, however, remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and the monk still dies of old age when her time is up.

Table 3: AC Bonus and Fast Movement by Fighting Style

AC Bonus Fast Movement
Level Mountain*,
Sea, Shadow
Sun Wind Mountain Sea, Sun,
Shadow
Wind
1 3 3 3
2 4 3 4
3 4 4 4
4 4 4 5 +10 ft.
5 5 4 5 +10 ft.
6 5 4 6 +10 ft. +10 ft.
7 5 5 6 +10 ft. +10 ft.
8 6 5 7 +10 ft. +10 ft. +10 ft.
9 6 5 7 +10 ft. +10 ft. +20 ft.
10 6 5 7 +10 ft. +10 ft. +20 ft.
11 7 6 8 +10 ft. +10 ft. +20 ft.
12 7 6 8 +10 ft. +20 ft. +20 ft.
13 7 6 9 +10 ft. +20 ft. +20 ft.
14 8 6 9 +10 ft. +20 ft. +30 ft.
15 8 6 10 +10 ft. +20 ft. +30 ft.
16 8 7 10 +20 ft. +20 ft. +30 ft.
17 9 7 10 +20 ft. +20 ft. +30 ft.
18 9 7 11 +20 ft. +30 ft. +30 ft.
19 9 7 11 +20 ft. +30 ft. +40 ft.
20 10 8 12 +20 ft. +30 ft. +40 ft.

*Only half this number (round up) is applied to AC; the other half (round down) is applied to DR. See the Mountain Style, below, for more details.


Ex-Monks

A monk who becomes chaotic cannot gain new levels as a monk but retains all monk abilities. If her alignment changes back to lawful or neutral, she can gain new levels again.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License