Weekend Kung-Fu Classes for my other Characters

Sing it..you know you want to. "Everybody was kung-fu fighting...HA!"

Sing it..you know you want to.
“Everybody was kung-fu fighting…HA!”

Something to read while the DDO gets another update this morning.

With my entry into a multiclassed Rogue with Monk training, I’ve been thinking a bit on doing the same for many of my other non-Monk characters since, if you haven’t caught on, I like the Monk class.

This can be tricky stuff, especially since I’ve only made a few WIS-based casters (Rangers and Clerics). I’ve never gotten the hang of arcane casters in DDO, and have only one sword-and-board melee, a lonely Paladin that rarely gets any air time.

My Monk guide is designed to help people build and play an non-multiclassed Monk, and I enforce this training preference in not discussing blends in great detail in the guide. But the gloves are off in this article as I seriously reconsider not only multiclassing one or two more of my characters, but ALL of them.

I imagine each of my non-Monks journeying one day to the dojo, being helped out of their armor and weapons, handed a pair of monkly pajamas and a straw mat to sit on during their weekend kung-fu seminar, beefing up their unarmed fighting skills with Teachers Syncletica, Lynncletica and Ryncletica before returning back to their dominant occupations of their primary class.

I expect many of them to get a fine schooling and a lot of bruising. For a couple of them, the trip might be worth it.

Arcane Archer Monk

Pynthetica is my human Arcane Archer that I loved to play before Monk fever took me completely.

The first idea in returning Pyn to the game in her 2nd life is to create a Zen Archer, or “Monkcher” as it’s known on the forums. Uses a bow and Zen Archery (use WIS rather than DEX for attack rolls) but be ready to punch it up if things become too close. I envision a Ranger 14/Monk 6, adding in some Arcane Archer power combined with Ninja Spy I for some negative energy attacks and natural invisibility.

I’d lose some ranged alacrity this way with the loss of the Ranger capstone but I’d try to compensate by adding a lot more STR than in her first life for greater damage. One advantage is getting the Two-Handed Fighting line for free with Ranger levels, saving several feat slots if she went all-Monk in her training.

Rogue Monk II

Allysen is my weary Thief-Acrobat II halfling Rogue. Being my first Rogue, she has some issues that make her not as adequate at trapping or fighting as I’d want her to be. Cassie is my first Rogue with Monk levels, so Allysen would be my second effort.

After playing this Acrobat for a bit now, I suspect that I’m missing overall attack power: STR. Quarterstaff fighting is also a bit slower. Rather than pitch the staffs, I could keep the Acrobat and add just two Monk levels. Normally people just do this for the Evasion, but Rogues get that, too. What I’m adding is the unarmed fighting option for more attack variety with elemental ki attacks, which also work with the staff. From there, add far more STR.

It’s AC that becomes a problem in the build since Allysen would have to wear robes or outfits to stay centered. That means that Allysen will need to subscribe to the Dodge/Mobility/Spring Attack/Combat Expertise/Whirlwind Attack blend that Cassietetica will have, and that Ryncletica and Quintessica the Avatar have for superior Dodge, AC and a special attack option. Still can’t neglect DEX for the AC and Reflex but STR will be the damage dealer here. With only 2 Monk levels Allysen should be able to disarm and spot as a good Rogue should.

Cleric Monk

A fitting and common multiclass for many players since WIS powers both classes. I’ve tried this before with unfavorable results, likely because I couldn’t make that toon “fit in” with parties as well as run solo as well as I wanted.

For me, Cleric dilettantes for Half-Elves were far easier to utilize with Cassie and Ryn while keeping their roles straight–and thus not losing any offense or defense in the build. I do so want to make a better party aide with improved fighting prowess than a typical Cleric. Perhaps a look at wielding kamas is worth it, as they do well against zombies, leaving Turn Undead uses to weaker skeletons. I have a halfling cleric I could use for this but the joy of doing this is not there for me. For now, I’m leaving this blend on the back-burner.

Paladin Monk

I must admit that I haven’t studied enough for this one. This blend would have the strongest saves in the game (Pallys and Monks rank #1 and #2 here). Attack power, a few spells to help buff others and self isn’t a bad thing. The information I lack involves what Prestige Enhancement to use. I’d imagine a Paladin Monk as an advanced beholder slayer, so going Light Monk would be the direction if I took up to 6 levels.

Perhaps that’s redundant since Paladins also have a distaste for undead and may have more resources than Shintao Monk I. It can’t be Ninja Spy as that specializes in negative energy and complicates things.

There’s also the matter of CHA, which will sap points for other abilities needed for unarmed fighting. AC is the big loser here since many Paladin defenses/abilities are done through shields–something an unarmed blend like this can never do. If the shield is on, I still have Evasion in place to help but that disables most other monastic effects. Don’t know if I’ll get to trying out this idea. I’ve just not been inspired by the Paladin class.

Druid Monk

Not much time devoted to studying this one, either, but on the surface there is much potential. Druid spell points come from high WIS–perfect for a build whose animal forms effectively fight unarmed, which synergize with a monastic fighting style. The piercing and slashing damage additions are worthy, too. I wasn’t initially sure which way this should go: Minor as a Monk or as a Druid?

Looks like (based on the limited DDO Wiki class article that’s still being fleshed out) that minoring as a Monk gives the best benefit. Two levels for Evasion, and Stunning Fist with additional elemental damage at early levels, and the rest of the attack power is supplemented by the druid forms. STR again defines the damage.

With a few fresh new character slots from buying the new expansion pre-release, this just might be my new experiment in the coming days. Might ask a couple of the hosts on DDOCast: Seems they’re a little bit country, a little bit rock-and-roll when it comes to some Monk/Druids or Druid/Monks they play.

Classes That Don’t Synergize

There are several classes that can’t work as a unarmed fighter with two or more Monk levels.

You can’t make Bard or Barbarian Monks: These classes must always be non-Lawful while Monks must be Lawful. Doesn’t mean you can’t use Epic Destinies to add a little something extra that reflects these classes, but that’s much later in the game.

Sorcerers and Wizards could benefit from the two-level splash of Evasion but otherwise should never be on the front lines where their low hit points mean certain death, Monk Evasion or no. Their reliance on CHA or INT also lessens what monastic prowess they’d have, and thus their odds at survival. Not saying it’s impossible–there are certainly a few crazy players that have surely rolled one up. I’m just not going to be one of them, for now.

As with the Sorcerer, the Favored Soul isn’t a good fit for a Monk blend since CHA is used by that class–almost entirely a dump stat on a Monk.

A definite no-no would be the Artificer. Half of their fun and abilities literally extend from the rune arm, and, as a dev said, rune arms damage one’s calm. It requires INT for spell points. A two-level Monk splash for Evasion would certainly help a traditional Artificer, but I’m not sure how an unarmed Artificer would be practical. (UPDATE: See the comments for a reconsideration: One poster enlightened me to my class bias that would make an Artificer Monk a very enticing option, rune arms be damned.)

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16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kavatch2
    Jun 24, 2013 @ 11:45:22

    Sensei Syn I would like to protest your dismissal of one of the best monk mixes in the game. The monk/arti is incredibly versatile and when fully buffed on tensers and armor of speed as well as deadly weapons the monk/arti is crazy harmful and the best solo build I have. The class has the dr breaking ability of a shintao and trapping skills and really good on-hit weapon buffs for a class ( the monk) who has the highest hit per second in the game. Of course these weapon buffs don’t stack which is a bummer and requires knowledge of the quests enemies so you can buff appropriately but for someone with good gear and experience its a very powerful class combo, try it out.

    • teachersyn
      Jun 24, 2013 @ 12:48:50

      That’s very good information as I had absolutely no experience or knowledge of anyone that has designed such a build. I just couldn’t make the connection until you noted it. The buffs make sense, especially if one can give yourself DR strikes (really should have thought that one through on its ramifications). Still needs INT but can be justified easily for Combat Expertise and Whirlwind Attack for damage, and it would still have enough spell points for self-buffs with a few tricks up its sleeve. A dark Monk would be very good here since they need the DR bypassing. I’ll toy with this more; I have a L19 Arty that’s my crafter who I like, yet I haven’t had the desire to move her forward.

      The only question I have is how well their AC will be. Evasion goes only so far, so it needs to be able to survive what it can’t take down.

      • Kavatch2.0
        Jun 25, 2013 @ 10:03:11

        The ac of a monk arti is terrible and in my opinion should be played with as many displacement effects as possible, thus the synergy with dark monks as you stated. If you do want ac then you will sacrifice durability and versatility to do so. The best possible mix for monk and arti I,ve made was a 12/6/2 arti ranger monk who had really nice feat freedom and arti damage boost and tensers but no deadly weapons or dark monk goodies, still with the tempest pre and everything else he is the most spanky thing ive ever played. I will admit he plays more as a fighter with handwraps that a monk but he is VERY good at team play and can still solo, my only regret is that i didnt make him a warforged for the healz.

  2. shiikun
    Jun 24, 2013 @ 22:52:51

    I loved my Wizard / Monk. Almost all of the spells were buffs, though, but it made playing a breeze. Something about a Monk with complete access to things like Jump, Haste, Shield, etc… was quite fun. Believe I stole the idea from Geoff, though.

    But, with higher levels of Wizard, you get access to Wraith, Tensers, and a few other neat things. DC casting is pretty much out of the question, though.

    • teachersyn
      Jun 24, 2013 @ 23:38:42

      That’s more of the stuff I’m glad to hear. I’ve seen some of these in action. Wouldn’t want to bring them into an EE fight, even a EH, but they must be fun to play if you’re careful.

  3. geoffhanna
    Jun 25, 2013 @ 07:30:42

    You are, as always, the monk master 🙂

    • teachersyn
      Jun 25, 2013 @ 08:38:50

      Master? Maybe. Expert? Haven’t been around that long and still make plenty of mistakes (Like leaping to a rafter above a det pack in “Undermine” rather than running from it).

      Looking forward to meeting you at GenCon Indy–working on what badge to do: Probably One-Day Saturday since life gets pretty busy for me here.

  4. FuzzyDuck81
    Jun 26, 2013 @ 04:43:24

    I’m fond of weapon-using monks & looking forward to the enhancement pass, as one of the kensai tier 5 powers (“one with the blade”) makes any weapon from your focus group count as centered, which will IMO mean there could be a LOT more monks around 🙂 I’m already considering making a dwarf dual dwarven axe-using black whirlwind build… if tier5 powers only require 5 class levels then a 12monk/6fighter/2something could be awesome fun with all the dreadnaught stuff, overwhelming criticals, earth stance 3 to boost crit multipliers then twist in sense weakness, a dance of flowers & rejuvenation cocoon for a quick, evasive heavy-hitter with a bit of extra self-healing.

    • teachersyn
      Jun 26, 2013 @ 07:24:13

      That’s a lot of spice. Maybe I’m a simple person but wow, that’s a lotof complexity for a single melee. Your description reminds me of how some people order a drink at Starbucks. Some will just as for a “tall, brewed coffee.” Others will ask for something more, like a “venti skinny caramel machiatto with 2 pumps vanilla.” Others have a drink choice so long it became less of a beverage and more like some English/pseudo-Italian incantation found in a musty tome that can summon a frickin’ demon.

      That said, if you’ve read back a month, you’ll know my thoughts on the enhancements as they were shown in the alpha. I’m not keen on most of them. But its their game, their rules, I guess.

      • FuzzyDuck81
        Jun 26, 2013 @ 13:00:48

        I’m rather looking forward to the pass personally.. sure there’ll be changes & some things won’t work so well (i’m already mourning the lesser & greater elven dragonmarks being swapped around so i wont have as many displacements to share with friends), but it seems to me they want to make the classes/race & lines within them a lot more distinct from each other in powers & playstyle than they are already.

        Also, though the second preview isn’t yet available they’ve already confirmed that it’s going to be up to 6 class trees now with lower total points spent requirement so even more than already, you’ll be able to make a character that really fits to YOU, yet also be totally viable & effective despite not being the more “classic” type of build.

    • Kavatch2.0
      Jun 27, 2013 @ 11:24:09

      Hey i already mentioned this with the shintao defensive strikes and an sos weilding monk/kensai.

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