About the Monk Guide

The Book of Syncletica has turned into a rather comprehensive tutorial and reference guide to starting and playing a Monk through all 20 levels and beyond.

This blog, “The Order of Syncletica,” primarily discusses my experience in building and shaping my army of Monks, experiences with my guild, as well as insights on general builds, feats, game updates and other information that doesn’t quite fit in the Monk guide’s format. Often, what I learn from gameplay, as well as information from other players who post on the official DDO forums and elsewhere, get incorporated into the guide over time.

The hosting format of the Monk guide isn’t too comment-friendly. The Monk guide will forward you here if you’d like to make comments, corrections, suggestions or criticism about the guide. I welcome any comments to help keep the guide useful to any who read it.

42 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Whiffle Purr
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 04:30:15

    Thank you for your very comprehensive guide.

    I’d like to point out a possible error, or maybe misunderstanding, in Syncleticas lesson about “Evasion, Dodge, Concealment and Incorporeality”. There you make and emphasize the statement, that “Every miss chance works against your Reflex save.”

    I was very confused by that statement, since a Reflex save implies the existance of a save DC that you need to save against, and no part of the miss chance mechanics provide or define such a DC. I’ve looked up the associated ddowiki articles, and they appear to confirm my opinion, that miss chances are merely a percentile roll that is not affected by your reflex save, or the feat, Evasion, at all.

    I haven’t played for more than a year, and there were significant changes in this area, so I may be wrong. But neither your lesson nor the sources on ddowiki could shed light on the mechanic of how to roll a saving throw on a miss chance. Please, if you would, reevaluate and clarify that statement.

    Whiffle Purr
    Secluded monk of Orien


    • teachersyn
      Jul 11, 2013 @ 08:33:46

      Thanks for your note. Yes, for a time now in the game, effects such as Dodge, Concealment and Incorporeality work independently to avoid damage. If any one of them is saved against, the attack fails.

      You’re correct: These three effects are simple independent rolls that reduce your overall chance of being hit and don’t use reflex saves. Evasion, however, is influenced by reflex saves. I’ll make a note to get that changed. Thanks again.


  2. FuzzyDuck81
    Sep 20, 2013 @ 15:03:05

    Having another look through your recently updated guide, great work as always – though i’d also suggest adding weapon shipment elite to your ways to show off page – with the changes a few updates back to make it constantly-spawing waves, it’s a properly hectic quest. a hireling healer will simply die horribly so you’re pretty much forced not to rely on them – at least not for the main part, though in the NPC escort part they’re fine for keeping her alive so you don’t have to worry about it so much.


    • FuzzyDuck81
      Sep 20, 2013 @ 15:20:28

      Oh, despite it taking some more time to get to, i’d also suggest looking into primal avatar as a possible epic destiny – there’s some really nice stuff there to boost 2wf/unarmed fighting styles including no-save knockdowns on vorpal strikes, primal travel (extra dodge for 12secs, usable once per minute.. twist in meld into darkness & you can be practically untouchable for a decent amount of time), natures fury stacks for harder-hitting crits & the avatar of nature is fun too.


      • teachersyn
        Sep 20, 2013 @ 15:34:10

        On “Weapons Shipment”: I thought I implied to go in there purely solo to ramp up the difficulty. I’ll take another look. This and “Devil Assault” are total marathons for the super-solo player. Do need that healer with Leilla, or “Little Miss Zerging Badass” as I’ve nicknamed her.

        On Primal Destiny: A good idea. I don’t like to write about things I haven’t tried to a significant degree, so I might have to create an unarmed Druid and see what that’s about, or see about training it into an existing Monk of mine.


        • FuzzyDuck81
          Sep 20, 2013 @ 17:32:49

          Just work your way round to it on a regular monk – if you’re planning on going for MOAR DPS! you’ll want to work towards the 4/1/1 destiny twist slots anyway (which take a lot of destiny levels) to include sense weakness (extra damage vs. helpless things & even more damage the more hurt an enemy is regardless of whether helpless or not) from the fury destiny – that thing’s nice on most characters, but on a monk, who can use a high-DC stunning fist, kukan-do & jade tomb to make stuff helpless at will? it’s just insane.


  3. Kavatch2.0
    Sep 20, 2013 @ 20:59:29

    Yo fuzzy enemies aren’t considered helpless when knocked down by primals vorp it’s also only 2 seconds. Now in maxed fury you get a no save knockdown for 10 seconds and the enemy is helpless and you vorp enough with hand wraps that it’s just endless adrenalines.


  4. Aetharion
    Sep 23, 2013 @ 02:36:52

    First of all, great guide! However, I think you might have made a mistake in your chapter about Healing Amplification – the Shintao Core enhancements EACH add 10 positive spell power, as does the heal skill (which is governed by wisdom). So a level 6 monk’s heal amp will multiply a cleric’s CSW as follows: 25 x 1.2 x 1,15 x 1.33 x 1.25 = 57.36, which is a bit better than your calculation of 47 (assuming 16 total wisdom and Jidz-Tet’ka fire stance). This can be further increased by putting points in the Heal skill and investing in Heal skill items.


    • teachersyn
      Sep 23, 2013 @ 07:17:42

      Thanks for writing. You’re right; I’m sure the text in the Shintao enhancements chapter is right (it’s copied from DDO Wiki and changed only when the dev’s version of English rattles my sensibilities). That’s an important difference in matters of spell power since, before, we often wore some Devotion item and now we get a freebie that, apparently, is an untyped bonus to go with any other spell power categories. I’ll definitely retool it based on your correction (you can guess that I haven’t spellcasters ’cause I don’t do math). Thanks again.


  5. Kavatch2.5
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 23:09:01

    I think you have a typo in the ninja spy section regarding %miss effects. You say that incorp and concealment effects stack with dodge, but instead its calculated as 3 separate rolls against dodge,incorp and concealment.


  6. Kavatch2.5
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 23:31:27

    In the henshin mystic section you say that the every light casts a shadow neg lvl debuff effects EVERYONE but this is not wai and should be reported if its still happening to you. Mystic training does not help the dc’s of either stunning fist or qp or any henshin spells, it only helps finishers and for some reason elemental ki strikes like eagle claw attack. Lastly you don’t describe the last 2 levels of lighting the candle as they give 1d8 fire on hit and 3d6 force on crit at maxed lvl.


    • teachersyn
      Nov 16, 2013 @ 08:19:16

      I think I noted Every Light’s glitch, since it’s similar to the Ninja Spy’s Wave of Despair yet still neg-levels everything. I’ve sent a bug report in some time ago but may need to do so again before writing it off as WAI. On Lighting the Candle: Thanks. Some descriptions are based on U19.0 and haven’t been clarified since U19.1 and later.


  7. Kavatch2.5
    Nov 16, 2013 @ 00:00:49

    I have nothing to say on the shintao section… c’ept gj.
    ps you give too much flat info I need to see more opinions on general game experience. For instance “shadow veil is the best defensive buff in game outside of displacement it should always be taken by monks.” or y’now sum such.


    • teachersyn
      Nov 16, 2013 @ 08:21:44

      Thanks. Often I’ll use highlighted or colored text or Lotus notes to emphasize the benefits of a special ability. Given that Veil can now be taken by all Monks for better defensiveness (with a side bonus of short sword proficiency), I’ve added a Lotus note in the Miss Chance chapter. (I’ve done this Veil thing myself with Syncletica. 🙂 )


  8. Duskblader
    Nov 29, 2013 @ 14:24:32

    Awesome guide. Just one little thing to add to the “Armor and Physical Resistance Rating” page of “The Book of Syncletica: A DDO Monk Guide”: Iron Skin, Shintao Tier 2 Ability. Grants +(5/10/15) PRR while in Earth stance. 2 AP per rank. In my opinion, very useful for a low level monk who takes hard hits at times. Can probably be trained away to free up points at higher levels


    • teachersyn
      Nov 29, 2013 @ 16:50:59

      Agreed! Update 19 added more PRR to the mix, although I think they pulled that PRR bonus from Mountain Stance (which had the same numbers), so it’s a rob-Peter-pay-Paul thing. My tanker still had only a 2 point change after 19. I’ll double check that section. Thanks again.


  9. Grateful_Noob
    Apr 17, 2014 @ 22:37:29

    Wow, nice indepth-yet-understandable-to-the-noob guide. Really enlightened me on the monk.


  10. FuzzyDuck81
    May 23, 2014 @ 04:32:53

    I’ve been looking over the single-weapon feats on lammania & think they could be interesting – stacking attack speed boost, up to 2x the controlling stat as damage booster, and perfect single weapon fighting letting 19 also count as vorpal seems like it could have a lot of potential for a purely dex/wis based ninja, particularly with appropriate weapons like the epic envenomed blade.


    • teachersyn
      May 23, 2014 @ 08:23:29

      Yeah, I saw that Firewall noticed that too and how S’Cannons without an off-hand could be murderous throwers with that feat. The ninjas really have advantages here as I’ve been tooling all with either high WIS (Zen Archer, Ninja swordmaster) or high DEX (S’Cannon). An unarmed ninja is actually weakest here, you think? They don’t get DEX to damage with wraps. Looks like the devs are really encouraging this…and its working. Ninja’ing has never been better. Almost makes me forgive them in pulling “Water Strider.” (Almost. 🙂 )


      • FuzzyDuck81
        May 23, 2014 @ 10:55:29

        Ahh didn’t see that it works with throwers, i figured it was melee only.. even better then as that ninja is set up for shuriken use, just not the full shuricannon with the precise shot stuff.
        Unarmed ninjas are still viable since weaponised ones can’t use touch of death or stunning fist which is one of the monk’s most iconic abilities (and as you’re well aware, seriously powerful), so the trade-off makes it interesting.


  11. Matt
    Sep 08, 2014 @ 11:42:10

    For the kensei fighter – Do you start as a monk, or as a fighter? I read through it a few times, and still couldn’t make head from tails?


    • teachersyn
      Sep 08, 2014 @ 11:48:26

      Hi Matt. I didn’t specify what to take first because I’m new to the build, too. But on recent review, I’d start off as Fighter. Build up your levels to at least 8 as you’ll need Greater Weapon Focus for whatever Kensei Focus weapon you’d care to use for One with the Blade later. Then add on as many Monk levels as you desire to take advantage of those abilities. Your only condition there is to become Centered (no armor, no shield) once you have One with the Blade working for the weapon of your choice.


  12. Vladrich
    Sep 22, 2014 @ 15:12:24

    Hey, going through the guide (and possibly missed it), but playing for the last three months after returning from a long hiatus I’ve been working primarily on my solo ninja skills as a first-life human monk (I am a glutton for punishment when it comes to learning curves) and trying out new approaches to the various tricks that we can access. This brings me to the Diversion special ability which seems to be referred to more often as a defensive technique, but I’ve been turning it into an offensive weapon against many of the bosses that I need to assassinate.
    In solo operations where it’s my lone fist or blade against a horde, this has allowed me to thin out the bosses more dangerous allies quickly (casters, healers, and then working my way down with my Ninja Poison and pair of Envenomed Blades while in Wind Stance), before turning my attention to stacking as much Ninja Poison on the boss before switching back to my Vampiric Stonedust Wraps and Mountain Stance once the dummy is dead. The name of the game is keeping everyone off balance between the mobs focusing on the dummy, AoE Ninja Spy abilities (such as Flash Bang and Poisoned Darts), and Grandmaster of Flowers abilities such as Drifting Lotus, I’ve had a much easier time in dealing with bosses and their pesky minions when I come to terminate their existence.
    Anyways, thank you for the fantastic guide and blog: coming back to DDO after more than two years of inactivity would have been FAR more painful without your insights.


    • teachersyn
      Sep 22, 2014 @ 15:59:09

      You’re very welcome. Sounds like you’ve learned something I didn’t consider, maybe because you have only 2 Meditations to use that dummy. But in an end fight, that’s a great plan. Glad that the guide helped.


  13. Cifrer Reis
    Feb 20, 2015 @ 19:26:48

    Thank you very much for making this guide. I really like being able to refer to it and look information up as well as how the information is presented. It’s very well written and enjoyable to read. It is really nice how you keep it up to date also.


    • teachersyn
      Feb 20, 2015 @ 21:43:40

      I’m glad it helped! Be sure to also check the Monk subthread in the Classes forum on the DDO forums, as there are plenty of people that add new ideas or are happy to tear mine apart so you’ll have a better character. 🙂


  14. Totengraeber
    Apr 01, 2015 @ 07:29:15

    I have just started playing again after being gone a very long time.
    I had gotten my monk to level 16, but being gone for so long i completely forgot how to play and with all the new additions and changes i was at a total loss.

    So i want to thank you for this guide.
    To say it was helpful would the greatest of understatements.
    Without it i would have been 100% lost in my return to DDO.



    • teachersyn
      Apr 01, 2015 @ 08:13:15

      You’re very welcome. The guide is a tad aged right now on some finer adjustments made over recent updates (such as Healing Amp) but it should still hold up. I’m glad it was helpful. Let me know if you have other questions not covered.


  15. rlarge
    Aug 10, 2015 @ 13:18:59

    Just wondering if you have any date for the new The Book of Syncletica. Really looking forward to reading it. Thx for whatever you have.


  16. Bryan
    Feb 28, 2017 @ 02:54:51

    Hello. I was wondering if you might know anything about a change to the Ivy Wraps. I was just looking on the shard exchange and found a level 24 without the “Spiked” property. The damage types are only Bludgeon and Magic. Same with a pair of level 15’s. http://imgur.com/FiQdMf9 http://imgur.com/06RO2nD

    Care to share any insight on what you might know about this change


    • teachersyn
      Mar 03, 2017 @ 19:02:50

      Hi. That’s very weird. I strongly suspect (1) it’s a bug but (2) the new handwraps as weapons thing made the devs nerf these. But then, similar wraps would get that treatment, so likely bug. Have you reported it?


  17. Mark Wallace
    Feb 12, 2018 @ 13:12:21

    I believe I saw that you had mapped “stealth” to another key – I can’t figure out how to do that. “stealth” isn’t in the list of keymappings that I have.


  18. TAP
    May 30, 2018 @ 16:15:38

    Hi teachersyn, people like you make life more fun, love the guide and the care and attitude taken. Built a monk on your guide a few years ago and just starting back after a long break.
    Have a few questions.The dex to damage on the Ninja Spies does apply to unarmed, why not go down this route and allow yourself to concentrate your points on Dex, Con and Wis. I assume it is then best to max out Wis still or do you focus on Dex?
    Whirlwind Attack looks good, is it worth it and the fact you can’t take Cleave and Great Cleave?
    Will still go Human, Pure unarmed. Will max Shintao tree and add 11 in Ninja. Is there anything in Henshin worth picking up or go human for rest i.e improved recovery, Ambidexterity and Greater Heroism.

    Any help appreciated


  19. TAP
    May 31, 2018 @ 10:02:36

    Sorry meant to add would put in 8 to Harper to get KTA


  20. Wigglin Wiggles
    Jun 21, 2018 @ 17:56:53

    Love the guide, need more help if possible. DDO allows Dragonborn Monks. Am a Dragonborn Monk – lawful good (because I was confused, prob should have been lawful neutral due to unholy attacks)… Maybe incorporate the race into the guide in the future? 😕 PLEASE! Am quite impressed with this character actually. more than i thought i would. my stats are str16/dex14/con12/int8/wis16/cha10(because of fortification)… after reading guide probably should be 8 and con 14. but oh well.. it works 🙂


  21. DDOCentral
    Dec 22, 2018 @ 01:19:04

    Come back and publish another blog post for this Spring’s Sharn expansion. We need to hear from you again!


  22. Ray
    Feb 06, 2020 @ 11:43:20

    Any plans to upgrade this guide to current, or closer to current, information?


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