The Kensei: Where Was THIS Hiding?

Riddick: Weapon master. He'd kill you with a tea cup.

Riddick: Weapon master. He’d kill you with a tea cup.

As I have been trying to update the Book of Syncletica guide, I stumbled on something that I hadn’t noticed before with the new enhancement trees.

I’ve heard of the Kensei fighters, sure. I was never sure what they were, except that they were more often dual-wielding, high DPS fighters.

I was doing some research to see where any class could increase their Dodge cap past 25% a day ago. I knew from experience that Ninja Spies could do this by 3% but then I learned that another class tree had this option.

I was sad to learn that their ability is identical to the Ninja Spy’s and thus, cannot stack. But as I read through this updated Kensei class tree, I could feel my eyes begin to bug out of my head.

The Kensei was familiar to me because I knew it under a different name in my Neverwinter Nights gaming days: “Weapon Master.” Effectively, the Kensei can choose a favored weapon and specialize in its use to much greater effectiveness than others. I didn’t pay attention to it back then because unarmed fighting wasn’t available to that class in the game.

What really caught my eye was that the Kensei class tree had integrated benefits for Monks who add points to this tree.

Without hesitation, I decided to break one of the Book of Syncletica’s rules, just this once. For those not in the know, the guide’s goal is to teach a player that’s new or inexperienced in the Monk to build and master a pure Monk, non-multiclassed, right to level 20 and beyond. I’ve not enough experience (or patience) to learn every multiclass option, and it’s advanced stuff, so I don’t cover it in any great detail in the guide (except note which classes may be more suitable or not in multiclassing).

But for the revised Kensei class tree, I decided to add it to the guide.

I’m a complete greenhorn on this build, so the chapter on it is quite incomplete until I can write about it with more authority. The history of the pre-Update 19 version showed a little Monk synergy as well. But with the versatility of the new class enhancement trees, a Kensei can make a more effective Ninja Spy into an non-Rogue assassin, give them greater effectiveness in fighting, and (while you needn’t take many Fighter levels to gain the benefits) greater durability.

I’m sure you can pair the Kensei with any Monk class trees, but I think that the Ninja Spy and perhaps the Henshin Mystics would gain the most. The Shintao Monk design is meant to work more as an unarmed fighter. While the Kensei abilities can augment them a little, the Shintao class tree is more aligned to accommodate tanking and endurance over power of attack.

I rolled up a new character, Theacletica, and plan to see how she takes to using shortswords, and eventually, kukris and throwing daggers, all while Centered. Perhaps a 14/6 Monk-Fighter, I don’t know. Given that I already have a Ninja, I’m leaning to the Kensei’s Tier 5 abilities, which I need to be Centered with kukris and daggers.

You learn something new every day with Update 19.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. FuzzyDuck81
    Sep 05, 2013 @ 18:02:05

    Whether its WAI or not i’m not sure, but the stuff to increase dodge cap does appear to stack – though different trees have different AP costs per point… ninja only 1 AP, kensei is 2, tempest is 1 iirc – i have a fighter/ranger/monk centered scimmy user that i put together for a laugh & was able to get 30% cap… but had to drop it down again for better abilities. Still deciding whether to take 12th fighter level for the power surge & better dps, or go with a 3rd monk level for FoL to provide more healing ability though.

    Just be aware if you want to make a centered weapon-user (for non-monk weapons), that you’ll need a minimum of 8 fighter levels – this is because the kensei tree stuff which grants those abilities requires the greater weapon focus feat (prereqs fighter level 8, weapon focus & weapon specialisation).

  2. teachersyn
    Sep 05, 2013 @ 18:20:06

    Knew they’d be a catch somewhere. Means that a 12/8 Monk Kensei is the better bet, or reduce the Monk levels to two, sacrificing much in any Monk tree. The 30% cap is crazy but if it can be done, I might try it. Thanks for the insight.

  3. Kavatch2.0
    Sep 06, 2013 @ 10:38:25

    Ive been spouting love for the kensai/monk since lam but ah well. Since we are talkin about kensai/monk builds I can say that kensai goes best with a shintao/ninja where you want shadow fade and iron skin. Apart from that your pretty good with ultimate earth stances +1 crit mult and decent saves. If you really want to you can even forgo racial enhancements and grap the henshins lighting the candle ( its bugged right now when you toggle it on and switch weapons, it removes all weapon effects) . Playwise Ive found that my kensai/monk Is amazing at solo play with weapon meditation and haste/dmg boosts I can solo most at lvl content on elite with only a devotion slotted and some boss prep. My build was a 2/10/8 druid/monk/kensei for the rams might and access to the doublestrike action boosts.

  4. Kavatch2.0
    Sep 06, 2013 @ 10:50:46

    Also max dodge cap right now is 31, its also really easy to get with a monk/kensai and fill with the new 8-10% dodge items.

    • teachersyn
      Sep 06, 2013 @ 13:09:41

      Insightful stuff. I would love to get my Dodge that high, so I’ll keep working at it. I’m still grasping at using more than one extra class, much less two, but I’ll keep studying.

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