Talk:Ultimate Monk (3.5e Optimized Character Build)/Rebalancing the Ultimate Monk

From D&D Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Should Ares Have Abandoned the Whole Melee Combat Thing, and Cast Cleric Spells Instead?[edit]

Uh, why does the monk get to start with all his powers online before the fight and the god gets nothing? Hell, the god isn't even raging this fight. Pretty pathetic. Surgo 22:02, 17 January 2009 (MST)

The god is raging, and the +10 to Str and Con are incorporated, though I didn't feel the need to mention it specifically. Ares did buff by increasing his size to go up against the Colossal+ Feorn, and by invoking Supreme Initiative (a spell-like ability). Doubtless he could have buffed further (although nothing jumps to mind; Ares uses his divine abilities pretty thoughtfully and aggressively, and it's hard to see how any of the spells Ares had access to -- from the War, Chaos, Evil, Madness domains -- would have made a difference in the fight) but why would he (a rank-10 god with 1,500hp and BAB+ 40), going up against an 20ECL character, think he needed to? Ares is proverbially arrogant and hotheaded, and is not noted for either caution or foresight. S1Q3T3 16:10, 18 January 2009 (MST)
What are you talking about the spell-like abilities "don't matter"? Word of Chaos (Chaos 7) instantly slays the monk without a save. Surgo 19:10, 18 January 2009 (MST)
I'm sorry to tell you you're completely wrong. Ares' caster level is 20 (SRD: "A deity can use any domain spell it can grant as a spell-like ability at will. The deity’s effective caster level for such abilities is 10 + the deity’s divine rank.") Feorn has 20HD. Ares could deafen him, if he wanted to . . . it's not going to help.
You're also wrong in the way you've posed the question: "What are you talking about the spell-like abilities 'don't matter'?" Don't put words in quotes the person you're quoting didn't say (and you misstated both the letter and spirit of what I said) -- especially, as a practical matter, when what they really said is printed directly above. S1Q3T3 20:15, 18 January 2009 (MST)
Okay, I'll buy that. But you're wrong on Word of Chaos. His caster level is 21, as per the Chaos domain power, which he also gets all the time. Which means that Ares just continuously uses Word of Chaos to keep the monk in constant stun, and then has a quasit finish him off. And because he's chaotic, he'll probably do something stereotypically chaotic like transmute the monk's corpse into a pizza or something. Though Oak Body stops that... (why does he get to start off with these powers on him?). But even if you allow the powers on him, it's okay, because Ares can just use Maddening Scream (Madness 8) which has no save to do pretty much the same thing, and then have a quasit finish him off and commence with the pizza. Surgo 20:54, 18 January 2009 (MST)
What do you mean? The SRD states very clearly that his caster level is 20 (as per the quote above). If you have found an exception to that rule, I'd be happy to see it, but please give me a link. The other problem with both Word of Chaos and Maddening Scream is that the DC is greater than 20: SRD: "A deity can use any domain spell it can grant as a spell-like ability at will. The deity’s effective caster level for such abilities is 10 + the deity’s divine rank. The saving throw DC for such abilities is 10 + the spell level + the deity’s Charisma bonus (if any) + the deity’s divine rank." They cannot be performed as automatic actions, as their DC is greater than 20. So they are standard actions, not free ones, and provoke an attack of opportunity. Ares would be unlikely to survive such an attack, and he knows it.S1Q3T3 21:17, 18 January 2009 (MST)
Ah, I see what you were referring to: "Granted Power: You cast chaos spells at +1 caster level." And the SRD also says: "A deity of rank 1 or higher can use any domain power it can grant a number of times per day equal to its divine rank (if the power normally can be used more often than that, the deity gets the greater number of uses)." Very clever work-around.
But there are a couple of problems. First, the passage goes on to say "If a domain power is based on a cleric’s level (or one-half a cleric’s level), a deity with no cleric levels has an effective cleric level equal to the deity’s divine rank (or one-half the deity’s divine rank) for this purpose." Since the effect is +1 to the caster level, the effect is based on the cleric level (which in this case would be 10. Final level: 11. In effect the bonus overlaps (and is inferior to) the determination of caster level for spell-like abilities. Which brings up another problem: Ares isn't casting a spell. He's using a spell-like ability with the effects of a spell. The granted power is effective only when the subject "cast[s] chaos spells." Using a spell-like ability is not casting. And the DC is still too high.S1Q3T3 21:49, 18 January 2009 (MST)
All true, but it doesn't work anyway thanks to Oak Body. But it doesn't matter because the same thing can be done with Maddening Scream. The DC thing does not matter...the spells do not have DCs, as they do not allow saves. Surgo 22:08, 18 January 2009 (MST)
Word of Chaos allows a save, vs the banishing effect. Whether or not the target gets a save, the spell that spell has a DC. Since DCs are used for other things in the game mechanic, I'd tend to argue that they all have DC, whether the target of the spell gets a save or not. But I could be wrong.
I'm not sure, however, that I'm applying the rules on automatic actions properly. What does an action DC of no more than 20 mean? Does it mean save DC, or a skill check need to perform the action (like a Concentration check)? It isn't clear to me from the way it's written.
Maddening scream requires a touch attack, meaning Ares would have had to chose to forgo one of his weapon strikes to use it. He didn't chose to do that. There was no reason for him to think it was his optimal choice. Feorn could easily have had spell resistance which would have rendered the attack ineffective -- Ares didn't know one way or the other. It would have been a big risk for him to take, sacrificing an attack, and getting hit in return, with no certainty of effectiveness.
It's worth going back to the beginning of the discussion to see where we are. Were Ares' choices "pathetic"? I don't think so. He used hand-to-hand combat -- his speciality -- and inflicted over 200hp of damage with only a quarter of his attacks. He lost not because his attacks were ineffective, but because he sustained so much damage in return. It's perfectly possible he would have had more success with Maddening Scream. If he had chosen to use a spell instead of a weapon despite not knowing if the target had had spell resistance and if he had been able to invoke the effect as a free action (normally, casting a spell without provoking an action of opportunity calls for a DC 15 + spell level check. Of course, if he can cast it as a free action, there are no attacks of opportunity -- but we don't know if he can cast it as a free action until we know the DC of the action.) But all that means is that Ares made a decision which turned out badly. It was a decision which was in character for him (a god of violence, bloodlust, and slaughter) and made sense with the information he had.S1Q3T3 23:52, 18 January 2009 (MST)
Defeating a god becomes a hell of a lot less impressive of a feat if you have to gimp him in order to do it. Which is exactly what you're doing here. Surgo 00:06, 19 January 2009 (MST)

So my Ares is a strategic "gimp," eh? Well, let's give him your tactical vision: after the Gripsoul attack, he tries to invoke Word of Chaos, thinking he is about to "instantly [slay] the monk without a save." He fails (pick your reason). He gets hit again; now he's dead instead of retired, enjoying the beach. That's the result of the plan you came up with with a hell of a lot more than 3 seconds to plan the next move. So who's the mental "gimp" in this picture?S1Q3T3 00:34, 19 January 2009 (MST)
I will admit that I did nothing more than skim some of the above conversation, but I agree with Surgo...this is optimization, which means you have to assume to opponent is optimizing his actions just as much as you are. Ares deliberately taking the less effective route because it's in character doesn't make much sense when you're talking about optimization. --Daniel Draco 00:13, 19 January 2009 (MST)

What nonsense. Surgo's first idea for Ares' winning easily via a spell failed completely on multiple counts, his second idea would have got him killed via the attack of opportunity he would have received for using a spell-like effect, and your whole argument is premised on the idea that a god of war and slaughter whose symbol is the spear should have avoided melee combat and just used cleric spells.

You, Draco, have missed two important points. First, there's a difference between choosing an inferior path and not having perfect information. Ares' behavior made sense with the information he had. Second, Surgo's suggestions don't work anyway. You're speaking with the benefit of hindsight, and you're still wrong.S1Q3T3 00:20, 19 January 2009 (MST)

Um, hello? Maddening Scream? Still works, still beats the monk 100% of the time. If Ares is somehow not actually using the options available to him in an optimized fashion (and he's already the least optimized god ever), this is the least impressive god fight ever and proves absolutely nothing about the supposed optimization of the monk. He casts the spell in the beginning. Holds the charge, so he does it out of range at first. Then goes in and makes a touch attack. Maybe he eats an AoO, maybe he doesn't. (He can make himself as small as a grain of sand, which pushes his AC pretty damn high as well.) Then he hits the monk with the Maddening Scream which immediately ends the combat because Ares has just won. Ares continues the Maddening Scream loop but is no longer in danger of any AoOs, and has a Quasit finish off the monk. Surgo 09:04, 19 January 2009 (MST)
You and your Quasits. You're still wrong. If Ares tries to use Maddening Scream, he provokes an attack of opportunity, followed by damage, followed by a Concentration check he can't make. He take damage and achieves nothing. And let's remember your first idea was Word of Chaos, which you now agree would have failed. According to the time stamp, it took you two hours, knowing everything on Feorn's character sheet, to figure out that Word of Chaos had no effect at all. And you're complaining that Ares didn't follow your entire train of thought after one attack? Not to mention Maddening Scream still doesn't work. You're being ridiculous.S1Q3T3 12:36, 19 January 2009 (MST)
Once again, cast the spell outside of range. Hold the charge. Then attack. You don't need to make a concentration check when holding the charge. Who cares if Ares eats an AoO? He's not dead, and the monk is as soon as he's touched. I fail to see how Maddening Scream does not work here; it looks to me like even if Ares can't cast it as a free action (which he should be able to, as the spell does not have a DC), the monk still dies. I also fail to get your point about the timestamps. I often leave my computer and return later, as I imagine most people who own computers do. Surgo 13:11, 19 January 2009 (MST)
Your arguments have been answered above; you're just repeating them ad nauseum. Your misguided attempts to reprogram Ares (Buff him! No, Word of Chaos! No, Maddening Scream!) have killed him five or six times over now. You lose, the monk wins. Goodnight.
So where was the argument that supposedly stops Maddening Scream answered, again? Surgo 21:14, 19 January 2009 (MST)
I think the fact we're not actually Ares has a major factor on how we do the battle. Since we don't know everything about the monk (like Ares) and a lot about warfare and battle (like Ares), we are allowed to make mistakes. Remember how you made mistakes? Hm... Now, luckily, Maddening Scream is stopped by the Mantle of Epic Spell Resistance. Luckily, he had that the whole time, amirite? Definetly didn't have it before Surgo suggested using his spells. amirite? --TK-Squared 08:27, 21 January 2009 (MST)

What if Ares Had Done Something Totally Different Based in Highsight on What Happened?[edit]

Sorry to break up your party, but I have some bad news for you guys. Ares sucks. How can he possibly withstand THE ULTIMATE MONK? He knows nothing about this guy who can do ridiculous things like that, gawsh! Or we can assume that the Ultimate Monk has been in a fight once and, therefore, Ares knows all about how the monk fights. Say, hi. I'm your new Ares.
Do you not get that the Ultimate Monk being perhaps overpowered was the whole point of the exercise? The point of the example is that the strict use of the rules allows the monk to do things that may be bad for game balance. I go on to describe ways to alter the rules to make him weaker. I'm displaying a potential flaw, not bragging about my optimization. Do you get that?S1Q3T3 19:57, 19 January 2009 (MST)
I am still not convinced that the Ultimate Monk is overpowered. I don't think you've shown it at level 20 (he is not beating Ares when Ares uses Maddening Scream, among other things), and you have definitely not shown it for the following levels: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19. (Levels 18, 19, and 20 don't even make sense for most characters anyway.) Monks still suck. Surgo 13:18, 19 January 2009 (MST)
I start the fight by casting Divine Power on myself, I can do that, I'm a God. I'm doing this while you're all waving your shit around buffing yourself to high heavens. I can wait, don't worry. Now, I win initiative and charge, as you say. But, I know your weakness; I'm a God. I just saw all your other fights. I know how you fight, I know how to defeat you. I didn't bother bringing my stuffy shield today, instead I leap attack you while wielding my spear two-handed. That's so I can get a better grip, y'know. So, my power attack multiplier is a x3 (x2 Two-handed, x3 Leap Attack). Now, how can I do some real justice to my power attack so it can do something against your 400hp? I think I'll, ah, yes! Power Attack for 60. I can do that, I have a BAB of +60 (Divine Power, baby). So, I take that -60 to my attack (Oh no!) and now I can deal 180 damage with my power attack.--TK-Squared 11:08, 19 January 2009 (MST)
Hey, I like it. Now, bear in mind two things: Ares is not a master strategist. He's a god with a small "g." So just because he can review the "tale of the tape," as it were, does not mean he would, or would draw the right conclusions from it if he did. Nor would it tell him things like Feorn's hit points or his class level. But divine power is a good buff.
But, you're clever and if I don't kill you quickly, you may destroy my precious spear (Oh no?) and that may hurt me. Hm... What was that? Oh, yeah. Sorry, I forgot just then. I'm a GOD. What was your AC? Something - 15? Yeah, but I have a -60, so I can't say against that. I just happen to have multipliers that add up to about 32 on my attack bonus now. But, fortunately, all my rolls are 20s. Now, I can get a threat for critical. What was your AC... -19 now?! AND SIZE MODIFIERS?. Can I miss? Most probably not, unlike some, I don't fail on a natural 1.--TK-Squared 11:08, 19 January 2009 (MST)
Gee, you started so well . . . then you went off the rails. Ares does not get all 20s. He's a lesser god. But you didn't realize that, and gave him a BAB+0. Now you just missed your attack altogether.
So... 8d6 (Base Damage) + 6d6 (Anarchic Power) + 50 (Strength) + 240 (Two-Handed Leap Attack(x3) Power Attack(x4) 60) + 40 (Two Negative Levels) + 4 (Weapon Specialization) + 20 (Divine Weapon Specialization). Good critical, eh? Fortunately for my divinity, I maximize my rolls, so let's see what the damage total is, shall we? 438. I wonder if you can live with -38HP.
Why are you doubling the damage? Ares isn't mounted, he doesn't get to double damage on a charge. Leap Attack gives +100% only on the Power Attack damage. Nor, even if he could, would it apply to things like Anarchic Power, Strength bonus, specialization bonuses, or inflicting negative levels. Back in the real world, your attack (which in the event, missed) does a lot less than 400hp of damage.
Oh, I get it. Your nonexistent critical hit with your nonexistent automatic 20. You still don't get to inflict two negative levels; that's not damage. You also forgot to deduct the monk's 10/slashing. And you don't get to maximize your damage rolls. But thanks for playing. S1Q3T3 12:59, 19 January 2009 (MST)
Oh Lord Me, I'm awesome. --TK-Squared 11:08, 19 January 2009 (MST)
Sorry, you're not awesome, you're dead, "baby." Your back-seat driving hasn't panned out. If your attitude were a little more friendly, the exercise in looking at what you would have done (which is a great use of the talk page, I appreciate the feedback) would be a lot more pleasant.S1Q3T3 12:36, 19 January 2009 (MST)

Somebody Makes a Useful Point and Uses His Grown-up Words to Do So[edit]

So how did you get Psionic Fist 11 without being epic? Also where is the roll for death by massive damage. 1/20 Ares wins :). -- 13:09, 19 January 2009 (MST)
Ah, that's an excellent point. I'll have to change that. Fortunately, it doesn't effect Feorn's access to any on his powers.
Fixed. I replaced it with a level of elocater (+1 manifester level) so as not to have to adjust all the powers and the power point reserve. To get the prerequisites for elocater, I had to do some extra-feat-getting black magic; follow the links under "race" for explanations.S1Q3T3 13:32, 19 January 2009 (MST)
The massive damage check is a DC 15 Fortitude save. Feorn makes it, except on a natural 1. I didn't bother to put it in there. Feel free.S1Q3T3 13:21, 19 January 2009 (MST)

How Smart is Ares in Combat? He's the "God of War," Right?[edit]

Waitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwait. "Ares is not a master strategist"? War is all about strategy, and I am quite certain that Ares is the god of war. --Daniel Draco 13:35, 19 January 2009 (MST)
That's a common misconception. Per wikipedia: "In Greek mythology, Ares (Ancient Greek: [á.rὲεs], Μodern Greek Άρης ['a.ris]) is the son of Zeus and Hera. Though often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, he is more accurately the god of bloodlust, or slaughter personified: 'Ares is apparently an ancient abstract noun meaning throng of battle, war.'"
If you read the Iliad, you'll see what they mean (to take just one example, in the Iliad Ares rushes into battle and gets so badly wounded -- by a mortal, no less -- that it takes Zeus' healing to save his life. I remind everyone that these are gods with a small "g.") Ares is not a smart guy. He's not the god of clever flanking maneuvers and ambushes -- that would be Athena -- he's more like the guy who get humiliated by his boss at work, gets drunk, and comes home and beats his wife. The Greeks put him in their poems, but not because they liked him, or worshiped him.
Of course, a fictional Ares can be whatever you want him to be. I happen to know what this one is like, because I made him up, all 35 feats, 13 divine abilities, and sixty class levels of him. And I say he's a rash, pigheaded brawler. If you want to argue that a really smart god with similar abilities could have beaten Feorn, I won't disagree with you.S1Q3T3 14:12, 19 January 2009 (MST)


As I noted before you rudely altered my post,
Let me stop you right there. I'm not getting into a flame war over D&D. Period. I have more self-respect than that. So if that's the way you want to play it, we're done. As to your post, I wanted to respond to it. You made that necessary by crowing about how easy it was to create an unstoppable Ares who would win the fight, then recommending tactics that would lose the fight. No wonder you wanted to edit it.
The point is not whether, after trying tactic after tactic that would get Ares killed, you can find one that might work. The question is whether -- as you and others have asserted -- there are obvious and self-evident superior strategies that Ares ignored. And your own fumbling and repeated missteps are the answer to that question, if an answer were needed.S1Q3T3

I was changing it. But, let's first address this one major stupidity you spouted. " Ares is not a master strategist"; the God of War is not a master strategist, you say. Really. Yeah. That makes sense. LET'S ASSUME THAT THE GOD OF WAR DOES NOT SUCK AT WAR. The main problem stems from the fact you're attempting to build a pathetic god to fight your monk AND you're playing him terribly. The fact still stands that Ares knows everything about how the monk fights. So... He starts off as a medium sized guy. Buffing time? Alter Size while you're busy masturbating or something. Up to colossal, that's a delightful net gain of +36 strength. Sure, he gets -4 size modifier... So he now has AC 66. It's quite amazing how you're hitting him, really.

Yeah, we're done. You're still screwing up on the rules, but never you mind. You aren't worth any more of my time.S1Q3T3 14:19, 19 January 2009 (MST)
Let's not forget, you now have -19 AC from Power Attack and Karmic Strike. Oh, and another -4 from the fact you're colossal. So, -23 AC there. So, we're talking 80 strength. +35 modifier. And I'm sure ol' buddy roy Ares decides not to full Power Attack, y'know; 'cause he knows how you like to break shit. He only takes a 30 on his BAB. It's okay, he does have a total attack bonus of at least +75. What did you say your sunder attack roll was?
Oh, and for some reason, Ares has bugger all for magic items. Let's say a continuous Bite of the Werebear effect. Why not? Strength 80 there, +16 is a sweet 96 strength. No point in skimping. +43 there on my strength. Now, for the attack. See, if power attacking for 30, we're talking 90 damage on that leap attack. 20 damage from the negative levels for 110 damage. Hm... What else are talking here? Oh. +64 is 174 damage. -10 from DR is going to be 164 damage. Well, at least there's nothing more. Then, you can attack. Oh yeah, base damage and anarchic. One supposes they can do some damage. Average of 3.5, that's 14 from base damage and 10.5 from Anarchic Damage. 188 damage there.
You were hitting him... How? --TK-Squared 13:42, 19 January 2009 (MST)

LA HOO ZA HURR --TK-Squared 14:34, 19 January 2009 (MST)
Wow, this discussion's formatting is crap. Anyway, S1Q3T3, try to see past TK's animosity and address the points he's making...he is making some good ones. And TK, if you want to be able to continue arguing as I know you love doing, you're going to have to tone down the hostility a bit. --Daniel Draco 14:58, 19 January 2009 (MST)

Questions About the Build[edit]

Just a few problems with the Monk build: You take 15d8 damage from overchanneling all those powers. Oak Body replaces your normal monk damage completely and makes it so you cannot use any of your physical modifying powers (you would need to cast it last). Oak Body also does not stack with Natural Armor from Wyvern (it specifically says it overlaps). It also does not stack with the Belt of Giant Strength (As the Strength bonuses are both enhancement). Claw Attacks from your spells and from wyvern are not considered Unarmed Attacks, they are natural weapons you get in addition to using unarmed attacks. In your feat list, you have taken Improved Sunder twice. I'm not sure about RAW: but I'm pretty sure you can't Psychofeedback below 3 Intelligence, which it shows you trying to Psychofeedback for 17 of your 18 int (yet you still have it listed as 7). You actually get +50 Power Points for high Wisdom, not sure how you determined the number of PPs you got. Honestly to optimize this you would be better off using Metamorphosis to change into a Mountain Troll. (39 str, 12 dex, 31 Con, +13 Natural Armor, Huge Size). Colossal+ Size actually gives you a -16 Armor Class Bonus. You can't use Level Buyoff with Bloodlines, as the rules for reducing LA are for exactly that, LA. Bloodline levels do not count as LA, though they are similar to it. Your BAB is +13 (+6 from monk, +7 from Psionic Fist, +0 from Elocater). Claws of the Beast would most likely replace your current dragon claws with claws that do 24d6+1d6 fire (Colossal+ +++++). Only your Unarmed Attacks are +5 enhancement bonus, not your claws (you only enchanted your unarmed attacks). Unarmed Strike Damage because of Oak Body = 8d6 (Colossal++ Club). You can't actually take the Improved Natural Attack (claw) feat, because humans have no claws. You can only take feats for Abilities that you possess through natural means. Now if you focus on your claw attacks, this means you are pretty much not using your Monk abilities, so why are you using monk in the first place? This doesn't show how monk is optimized but how Psionic Powers are optimized... You can get BAB 13, the same claw attacks and metamorph with a lvl 20 Psionic Warrior, I don't see what the deal is here. If you are in some way trying to prove that the Monk build you have given here is overpowered in any way, I'm sorry to say that you have utterly failed. The Psionic powers you have used don't make the monk anymore powerful than any other class combination that would get them. If you think psionics are overpowered because of these abilities, you haven't looked through what Wizards can do, or clerics for that matter. -- Sleaker 15:18, 19 January 2009 (MST)
Whew, lots here:
  • The natural bonus from Oak Body is not included in the monk's AC for that very reason (stacks with Wyvern).
  • Colossal+ does not give the monk -16 AC (nor +32 Str either, alas!); size increases via the Expansion power have a different set of modifiers.
  • The overchannel damage is noted, as is the fact that the monk uses healing magic on himself before the fight. He has a very low gp value of magic items, and could easily get more healing potions, or what have you. Also note that his orange ioun stone gives him +1 manifester level.
  • Claw damage, including Claws of the Beast, stacks with the monk's unarmed strike damage via the Beast Strike feat. Good feat, a little overpowered. I talk about it in the body of the article, if anyone is actually reading past the introduction.
  • BAB is +15 with the fractional BAB rules from UA. Fractional BAB is fair, and if your game's not using it, you should.
  • Some things like the Int score and bonus PP are inconsistent either because I miscalculated them or because something changed and I haven't calculated all the effects. I'll work on smoothing it out, but honestly, the fixation on the combat example is a little much. It's intended to illustrate the material that follows, on rebalancing. It's essentially a short story with some game mechanic on top. Certainly the game mechanic should be calculated correctly, but it's not the point of the exercise.
  • I'd like to see the source for the assertion that "You can't actually take the Improved Natural Attack (claw) feat, because humans have no claws." The description says nothing of the kind, and the rules treat "Claws of the Beast" claws like natural claws in every other way.
  • Bloodline LA is LA. LA can be bought off. You'd have to wait until you'd taken the two bloodline LA levels, but I see nothing in the rules that prevents you from buying it off. SRD: "a static level adjustment doesn’t truely reflect this difference." It's unusual LA, not something other than LA. [Revised: reading the bloodline again, I kind of agree with you. I'll look into it.]]
  • Thanks for the note about Sunder. Free feat!
  • Oak body does not replace normal monk damage. Just because a form gives you a natural attack, it doesn't mean you have to use it to the exclusion of any others. Consider: if you had a Trent PC with levels in monk, would they do unarmed damage via the monk table (if they so chose)? Yes, they would. This is essentially the same situation.
  • You're right about the Str stacking. I don't want to adjust all those damage roles, so I'll probably change the magic slightly (Feorn's a long way from the 760,000gp expected at level 20.)[Revised: Str is calculated correctly: 19+8+8 (Wyvern, 15 HD) + 4(Expansion, 2 sizes) + 15 (Psychocannibalism or whatever it's called) + 6 (Belt of Giant Strength) = 60 (+22). The Oak Body Str bonus, as it should be, was left out.But if I got confused, I can't blame you for being confused.]
  • I never said psionics were overpowered, I never said anything of the kind. Wizard spells are great, but you have to be a wizard (or a sorcerer, or what have you.) Cleric spells, not so much. The combination of Psychic Warrior powers with the monk is extremely potent, both because they mesh well and because, via Psionic Fist, you can advance in both at the same time. They are also spontaneous, more easily Quickened, and much more frequently increase in power as manifester level increases. They also can be enhanced via the overchannel feat, which has no magical equivalent that I know about. But I have no desire to argue with you. I like the monk this way, and if you think he's not overpowered relative to the other classes, then, bless you, you go right on thinking that.S1Q3T3 15:39, 19 January 2009 (MST)
Great rebuttals all around...except for this one: "Bloodline LA is LA.". That would be true, if at any point bloodline levels were defined as LA. They are "bloodline levels", not "bloodline LA". They are not LA, and it does not say they are LA anywhere. --Daniel Draco 16:19, 19 January 2009 (MST)
As I said above, I kind of agree (having gone back and re-read the section). I'm checking the rules and if necessary (it probably is,) I'll edit the character sheet.S1Q3T3 16:31, 19 January 2009 (MST)
Oak Body RAW: Replaces your Normal Unarmed Attack Damage. Take it as you will, but the way it is worded you cannot get around it. It doesn't give you another unarmed attack, it completely changes your normal unarmed attack damage, similar to how the monks ability increases your unarmed damage.

Oak Body: Your unarmed attacks deal damage equal to a club sized for you (1d4 for Small characters, 1d6 for Medium characters), and you are considered armed when making unarmed attacks. When you make a full attack against an object or structure using your unarmed strike, you deal double damage.

If you notice it specifically changes your unarmed strike damage to that of a club of your creatures size. Oak Body is a Psychometabolism power:

Psychometabolism powers change the physical properties of some creature, thing, or condition.

For the purpose of psionics-magic transparency, psychometabolism powers are equivalent to powers of the transmutation school (thus, creatures immune to transmutation spells are also immune to psychometabolism powers).

In essence you are transmuting your natural attacks into something else. You do not get to choose one bonus from the power, and not others.

Also You still do not qualify for the Improved Natural Attack (claw) feat as humans do not have a natural claw attack, the only way you gained a claw attack was through a power, and using powers does not qualify you for feats. You didn't explain the Psychofeedback problem. You never listed a Beast Strike feat in your build, as a feat taken, also which book is this in? Not to mention Claws of the Beast specifically states: You can call or dismiss the claws as a swift action during the duration of the power. If you attack with a manufactured weapon or another natural attack, you can’t make any claw attacks in that round. You can still hold and manipulate items with your claws or cast spells just as well as you could with your hands.

If you are using Fractional BAB then please say so on the build. -- Sleaker 17:30, 19 January 2009 (MST)

  • You can find the information on fractional BAB on the Ultimate Monk main page. That's where all the details are on this build. This is just an example on a subpage.
  • You are making a lot of assertions here, without providing evidence for them. I say a human can take INA for claws, if they have claws. Whether they get them as a racial feature or via a spell or a power is irrelevant.
  • Beast Strike is in all the 3.5e feat indexes. I believe it originally came from Dragon magazine.
  • Oak body transmutes your hands into something capable of a slam attack. It does not replace the monk's unarmed damage. The monk's unarmed damage, which is a function of his skill (not a "physical property" of his human form), supercedes any natural attacks a race or a form may have.
  • I didn't explain "the Psychofeedback problem" because there isn't one. You're "pretty sure" you can't reduce a score below three? Find a source and we'll talk.S1Q3T3 18:15, 19 January 2009 (MST)
  • "Your unarmed attacks deal damage equal to a club sized for you". It's pretty clear. It would be a reasonable interpretation to say that the larger amount of damage applies, but that is RAI, and not RAW. Generally, RAW are what are used in optimization, so you should probably make it clear that this interpretation is used.
  • By rules as written, you can only take a feat when you meet the prerequisites. You gain the feats when you gain a level. Improved Natural Attack has a prerequisite of a natural weapon and can be applied to any one natural weapon that the character has at the time that they gained the feat. So, by RAW, if you have claws at the moment you gain the feat, you can apply it to claws. All the ultimate monk needs to do is make sure he has that effect active when he gains the level.
  • If I understand the psychofeedback issue properly, it is that you need an ability score of x + 10 in order to manifest a power of level x. I am unable to find any rules to that effect, so it seems this is untrue. --Daniel Draco 18:33, 19 January 2009 (MST)
  • There is no such thing as reading something and not interpreting it. Every reading is an interpretation. In this case, what is described is a natural attack, specifically a slam attack; an attack, which by virtue of the creature's physiology, deals blugeoning damage on a hit and allows the creature to attack as if armed. And the presence of a natural attack does not in any way prevent the monk from using his unarmed strike, flurry, etc. An optimization does not require us to be deliberately obtuse, in my opinion. In any case we've had the discussion and it will live forever on the Talk page.
  • If you want to fight literalism with literalism, try this: the monk waits until after casting Oak Body to put on has Monk's Belt. When he does, "The wearer’s AC and unarmed damage is treated as a monk of five levels higher" (SRD). Now he has his monk's damage back. As I say, I think it's totally unnecessary to suspend common sense when creating optimizations. But in any case, the monk gets his damage.S1Q3T3 19:57, 19 January 2009 (MST)

A Page Break for Its Own Sake[edit]

Beast Claws Issue: Dragon Magazine is almost never considered when optimizing for 3.5 because of it's laughable balancing, but if you are using Dragon Mag then ok (sometimes it helps to list references to where your feats come from). Improved Natural Attack: The point is moot, you only take the feat in your progression once, the feat only applies to one attack type each time you take it, so you can only choose your unarmed strikes, or your claw. Oak Body: Okay I see what you are saying for that. It just seems like the oak body power screws monk dmg completely based on its wording. In the progression table on the main page it shows you getting another Combat Style feat at 9th level. You should actually be getting a General Feat at 9th level. Item Issue: You are using both a monk's belt and a Belt of Giant Strength. It seems that most of your build is centered around this Beast Strike feat that I can not find, since that's where the majority of your extra damage is coming from. If you going to use Action points (I don't advise it) then Ares gets 30 Action Points and can also use them at the beginning of his turn to begin emulating any feats he wants (which means he can pickup some pretty nasty feats) -- Sleaker 00:49, 20 January 2009 (MST)
Wizards says Dragon is "100% D&D." You're right, it should be listed among the sources on the main page. I like Beast Strike, specifically, because it never made sense to me that monks got no benefit from dangerous natural attacks. Many martial arts imitate animal fighting styles. If you gave them actual claws, they'd go to town. The feat also provides a useful way of buffing the monk's unarmed combat damage with psionics, which is what we expect a martial artists to do -- become more deadly through the powers of his mind, channeling his ki.
As you can probably see, no one ever told me that roleplaying took a back seat in optimizing. (I became an "optimizer" only by reading the section on this site, though its something I've done as a thought experiment for years.) It's a roleplaying game. Stuff that doesn't roleplay well is, by definition, not optimal. Not to mention that all optimizations are subject to the whim of the DM, so the better it roleplays, the stronger your argument (at least in a causal game; I know nothing about tournaments.)
If I put INA in once, it's a mistake. It needs to be there twice, as I discuss in the feats section on the main page. That's just an oversight on my part. [Revised: It's in there twice: Improved Natural Attack (unarmed, claw). I spent two feat slots on it and listed the two attack forms it applies to.]
If you wanted to emulate this nasty Deadly Concussion-double damage to objects combo, and you really feel the wording on Oak Body is definitive and you don't like me Monk's Belt work-around, above, there's another way around it. Take treant form instead of Wyvern form with Metamorphosis. You won't be quite as big or as strong (Colossal instead of Colossal+), but you get the same double damage against objects as the stuff about the unarmed attack being like a club is gone.
The ECL feat is a HD/levels feat, not a combat style feat. Depending on what combat style you start with, different feats are optimal as you go on, so I provide on the table a list of "suggested feats." Maybe I should rewrite the table with the source of the feat followed by the build suggestion in parenthesis, like (psionic/fighter bonus (psychic warrior 2)) (Up the Wall [psionic]). It'd be time-consuming and unwieldy, but as it is, even I get confused.
Is Ares not limited to one action point per round, like the rest of us? I didn't know that. Interesting. The thing to remember about Ares in this fight is a) He thought it'd be easy and b) He thought it'd last longer. There are probably a lot of things that would have occurred to him after a couple of rounds of mixing it up. But he's going to start with that, and in this case didn't have time to adjust his strategy. He's the god of mixing it up; his name literally means "throng of battle."S1Q3T3 08:39, 20 January 2009 (MST)
Dragon Magazine is 100% DnD just like DnD Homebrew is 100% DnD. Dragon Magazine is a 3rd party source, as using Dragon Magazines are not sourcebooks. The problem is that the ultimate monk is listed in the WoTC Sourcebook only section, and this is not the case if you step into Dragon Magazine. It may need to get dropped down to the other section if you are considering non sourcebook material for inclusion in the build.
With the Oak Body thing I tend to agree with you after seeing why. As far as Two INA feats, they weren't listed on the main Ultimate Monk page so I was confused as to how you were picking both up.
I'm really silly, I missed that whole part about 1 action point a round haha.
Practiced Manifester would be 100% better in all ways than overchannel for you. The way you are trying to use overchannel to give you access to more pp useage is not exactly the best way to get around the manifester level issue. Not to mention you have to burn 15d8 HPs.
Slighly new issue: Templating - I believe when you metamorphosis you lose template bonuses, or maybe I didn't see it correctly?
I think my biggest problem with the build, is that in Character Optimization (and I've been through it a ton on the Wiz Boards) you never ever ever, use Dragon Magazine sources for optimizing or action points, to show how the build works well. -- Sleaker 09:01, 20 January 2009 (MST)
  • You're right, you cannot read something without interpreting it. However, in general, optimization uses RAW (rules as written), taking the most literal interpretation of the rules. Exceptions are made for incredibly obvious things like the fact that death is a hindrance (since, by RAW, death carries no penalties whatsoever). Something like this is vague enough that one still goes by RAW. Your workaround seems reasonable, though, so it works out.
Once I saw there was an acronym for it, I realized I had stumbled into a whole culture I hadn't before been exposed to. When in Rome. While thinking about the idea that you could do something like the Ultimate Monk with an arcane spellcaster I came upon an interesting "literalism" that I wouldn't even blink at in one of my own games, but which might amuse you. Here it is:
  • Proposed: an arcane spellcaster cannot use the Polymorph spell to assume any form more than one size larger than his original form.
  • Evidence: Per the SRD: "This spell [Polymorph] functions like alter self, except that you change the willing subject into another form of living creature. " Per the alter self description: "The new form must be within one size category of your normal size."
  • Argument: All the restrictions of alter self apply, except the ones specifically altered by the Polymorph spell description. These include: the type restriction, the HD limit, and the new restriction that you cannot assume a size smaller than Fine. Nothing in those changes supercedes the within-1-size limit of alter self.
  • Rebuttal: Common sense. Metamorphosis, to which it is analogous, has no such restriction. The no-smaller-than-Fine restriction makes little sense unless the size restriction is removed -- how many people have Fine-sized PCs? (Although it is theoretically possible.)S1Q3T3 18:39, 20 January 2009 (MST)
All very amusing as a thought exercise, but I can't take readings like this too seriously.
  • I assume that the monk is considered to be the PC here, and in general NPCs do not have actions points. The book does say major NPCs can be given actions points at the DM's discretion, and since there is no DM in theoretical optimization, there is also no DM discretion. So no action points for Ares.
  • There is a slight difference between the boards' CO section and ours: we allow third-party materials. However, it does place it in the section for optimizations including third-party rules. Approved by WotC or not, Dragon magazine is considered third-party. --Daniel Draco 11:31, 20 January 2009 (MST)
  • That's good to know. I guess I'll have to make a decision on whether to remove it. While we're talking about it, there is also an SRD-only Ultimate Monk. Rather to my surprise, he came out rather well, relative to his juiced counterparts.S1Q3T3 18:39, 20 January 2009 (MST)
  • You can replace Claws of the Beast (15PP and 16d6, +Beast Strike) with Dissolving Touch (17PP and 11d6 damage). The main disadvantage of dissolving touch is that it lasts only one round, but for the Ultimate Monk (and any opponent that can seriously challenge him) a round is a looooonng time. It doesn't work on Ares, unfortunately, because deities are immune to acid. But it's a good way to recover a lot of the lost puissance of the monk's unarmed attack post-Beast Strike.S1Q3T3 21:49, 20 January 2009 (MST)

Recent Changes[edit]

  • Someone was kind enough to point out Improved Sunder was on the monk's feat list twice. Corrected, and replaced with Hold the Line, with amusing results.
  • Precognition was listed as boosting damage. It actually boosts the attack roll.
  • Added some magic to bring Feorn closer to average for ECL20.
  • The example was originally written as if Sunder were a straight attack roll. Ares' opposed rolls are now provided.S1Q3T3 18:19, 19 January 2009 (MST)
  • Fixed the LA adjustment issue by substituting a conventional template for a bloodline. Subtracted one feat (Powerful Charge) as a result of the charge. Int also goes up by 2.S1Q3T3 18:44, 19 January 2009 (MST)
  • Removed Beast Strike from the combat example (and all the progressions on the main page, alas!) It's a sad day, although the Ultimate Monk is still no one whose parking spot you'd want to take. This changed the combat example: while I was in there, I gave Feorn his Wyvern grapple checks. Because of the reduced damage, Ares has about 400hp left when he flees at the end of the example (having sustained a mere 1,100hp of damage on his own turn.) He still flees, partly because it still makes sense for him to do so and partly because I don't have time to add another round to the combat right now. When I have time to write more, I may retroactively restore a little of Ares' spine and have him hang on and try something else before quitting.S1Q3T3 20:26, 20 January 2009 (MST)
  • Made some changes. Switched to bloodline levels, which of course reduced the BAB, which changed the Power Attack, which changed the AC and the damage, as well as the max ability burn, which changed the Str and Con bonuses . . . filled in the gaps with magic (still well under 760k) so as not to have to change every number in the combat.S1Q3T3 21:06, 20 January 2009 (MST)
  • Adjusted Ares' stats to reflect his Alter Size to [C]. Fooled around with Feorn's magic, bought him a cloak of shapchanging to get Dread Linnorm form instead of Wyvern. The difference was less dramatic than I'd hoped, because of increased size penalties. Also created a ring with a continuous Mighty Wallop effect on it, but I don't want anyone to panic; I know it doesn't affect his damage in this example, since he's already Colossal. I put it in there because it is a nice thing for Feorn to have; in normal human form with no buffs he will now have a base damage of 16d8 (Colossal + Improved Natural Attack). In any size M or better metamorphosis form, that rises to 24d8 (Colossal + Improved Natural Attack + Warshaper). Give him his IoDM levels back, and it's 24d8/32d8. Makes no difference here, but it adds versatility to the build. S1Q3T3 17:55, 24 January 2009 (MST)
  • Changed Feorn's race from human to Kalashtar, so that he can use Kalashtar shards, especially Ectoplasmic Fist. This required me to up Ares' hp again, which I did via a Ring of Divine Vigor, an item I created while playing around with the magic item creation rules (which I've just started to look at). Feorn's new armor shards threatened to make Ares miss him, so I reduced Ares' Power Attack number to thirty. One could still object that if Ares' power attack number were zero, or if he had applied the penalty to AC, Feorn would not have been able to make the opposed roles necessary to successfully sunder. I think that's a reasonable objection, but I think Ares' choices are also reasonable, given that he can easily hit his opponent with a -30 BAB from Power Attack. If he had no penalty at all, Feorn's sundering attacks would fail, and he would have to hit him a few more times. However, he has plenty of hit points to survive the first round of Ares' attacks, especially since he Warshaper morphic traits give him complete immunity to critical hits. Between his Karmic Strike attacks and the attacks on his own turn, Ares is toast. S1Q3T3 13:13, 25 January 2009 (MST)


you win. i gief. ze monk is too awsum. i shall repentz mai ways! --TK-Squared 10:57, 20 January 2009 (MST)

Just kidding. --TK-Squared 11:29, 20 January 2009 (MST)
Although TK is being rude as always, he does raise a good point. Using your own homebrew, designed specifically for the purpose of being defeated by this build, is not an effective test of the build's strength. --Daniel Draco 11:34, 20 January 2009 (MST)
Yeah, where I come from that's known as a "strawman". Surgo 15:23, 20 January 2009 (MST)
No, Surgo, a straw man is when you attribute a position or an idea to someone who hasn't said any such thing. Example: treating an illustration at the beginning of an article on balancing as if the author were making an argument for the strength of a particular build. I did not, and have no need to make such an argument. I did not present the fight as a test, but as an example. There are a half a dozen other combat examples on Ultimate Monk pages (you can find most of them here.) It's a way to illustrate how the build works.
Certain people, including you, Surgo, got caught up in trying to "prove" Ares "should" have won the fight. When all of your "improvements" failed to change the outcome (remember your plan to kill him instantly with Word of Chaos? At the final count that failed for what, four or five separate reasons?), you got defensive and pissed. I can't imagine a sillier attitude. Draco, if you or anyone else would like to test the build's strength, let's test it. It never occurred to me anything could be a test with me, alone, rolling the dice at home. But educate me. And give Ares a little respect. I worked hard on him and if anything, made sure to give him divine abilities (Supreme Initiative, for example) that made him challenging. He's a pretty scary character. Show him some love.S1Q3T3 18:55, 20 January 2009 (MST)
Whoa, whoa. I admitted I was wrong about Word of Chaos, went into something completely different that does, in fact, change the outcome and was never even addressed, mentioned the extraordinarily important point that the Ultimate Monk fails to show that the monk doesn't fail at all levels from 1 to 19, get these two paragraphs of nonsense spat in my face, and suddenly I'm the one that's defensive and pissed? Surgo 22:14, 21 January 2009 (MST)
Surgo, you are illustrating my point here. You are acting defensive and pissed (no one "spat in [your] face"), you are treating the example as if it is a piece of evidence in an (in fact nonexistent) argument about how good the Ultimate Monk is. You are treating it as a test, which is exactly what it is not. I have no idea where you got the idea that I had to "prove" to you that the monk "doesn't fail" at the early levels. I have no idea why you think I'm obligated to answer every objection by someone who opens with rudeness and whose first four or five ideas were based on oversights and misreadings of the rules and completely failed.
You were wrong about Word of Chaos (wrong about what its effects would be, wrong about whether it had a saving throw, wrong about its effects on a 20HD enemy, wrong about whether the Ultimate Monk could be affected by it), and about Maddening Scream (whether it could be cast as a free action, whether Ares would reasonably have thought it was his best option) which is perfectly fine. I have made and continue to make lots and lots of mistakes related to the rules and their implementation. But then, I don't go to other people's pages and attack their work as stupid and using words like "gimped." That's really the problem.
You can continue to reimagine the combat however you like, you can treat it as a hypothetical combat between two optimized builds with perfect knowledge about each other instead of what it is, an illustrative example in which the two characters don't know each others' capabilities and strategies (although, oddly, you seem to think that only one party can adjust its strategy, and never suggest any improvements for the other). But what reason have you given me to feel like I want to participate in this thought experiment with you? Again, it comes back to attitude. Try being civil, and you'll find I am as willing to chew the fat over anything connected to the optimization as you could wish.S1Q3T3 21:25, 22 January 2009 (MST)
Then you can start by explaining where and why Maddening Scream does not stop this combat in the favor of Ares. Because it does, whether or not it can be cast as a free action (Ares can eat an AoO after holding the charge, as I've already said, and then touch the monk; holding the charge does not require him to make a concentration check and he can skyrocket his AC with alter size anyway). The only reason I am not suggesting improvements for the monk is because I do not know of any improvements you can give the monk that would help him. Surgo 07:23, 23 January 2009 (MST)
How about something that gives him protection from spells and/or mind-altering magic? Hindsight has to be a two-way street. Let me say I think the idea you've come up with, after many revisions, of casting a touch spell and holding it, taking the AoO, and then attacking with it, is a good one and might have worked against Foern before I gave him some psionic protections from mind-altering effects (his third eye defends against Maddening Scream completely). The questions I still have are: do you have a source for the contention that he can take heavy damage and not risk losing his held touch attack? Do you think it is plausible that Ares, whose symbol is the spear and whose name means "throng of battle," would have thought a touch spell was his best option?
I think if I were really going to rework Ares and optimize him (a concept, it seems to me, that has very little meaning when you are making up gods out of whole cloth) I'd look at some of the epic feats that let you transmit a touch attack via a weapon attack. The only way a touch spell by Ares makes sense to me as an initial strategy is if he can combine it with his spear attack.
We can keep re-working the fight and changing the combatants actions before and during the melee, but it seems like a very poor way to assess the worth of an ECL 20 optimization. I am unconvinced by the argument that Ares, being the "god of war," would have necessarily chosen the best strategy. I will take Homer's vision of Ares over Sony's, and since I made up this particular Ares, I think my vision of his personality carries some weight.
Protection from mind-affecting is practically required so, yes, that's a good idea. As far as strategy...what you have to understand is when you put two combatants in a fight to show how optimized they are, having one of the combatants not even use the optimal strategy for the abilities and options that that combatant has proves absolutely nothing. It most certainly does not prove that its opponent is any good. For that, you need to actually have the other guy use the options that would make him win and show that they don't work. Surgo 13:56, 23 January 2009 (MST)
You misunderstand me. I'm not saying that Ares isn't a good challenge, I'm saying that, since you made him yourself, it would be easy for others to accuse you of designing him to fail. This has already been demonstrated above. Several people (including me, admittedly) were skeptical of the validity of Ares as a challenge, solely because you designed him yourself. --Daniel Draco 08:50, 21 January 2009 (MST)
I have no quarrel with that objection, said the way you said it (that it, with a modicum of politeness). And my response is: the example wasn't really meant to be a test. If you'd like to suggest another mechanism (say, an optimization you like vs. the Ultimate Monk with average damage rolls and alternating 5-10-15 d20 rolls) I would love to run that combat. Or, someone else could run it. I would love to see how the Ultimate Monk stacks up. But, as you say, that's not really something I can do for myself. Even if I chose a third-party optimization, one could easily raise the objection that I picked one I could beat.S1Q3T3 13:51, 21 January 2009 (MST)
I used his own homebrew. I had to alter some things about it that were against the rules (Removed two feats, one was a repetition and the other couldn't be qualified for, and two Salient Abilities he didn't qualify for. I replaced them with things that still fit). I also gave him magic items that he'd used, such as Divine Power and Bite of the Werebear. --TK-Squared 11:36, 20 January 2009 (MST)
You have no business messing with the article. In addition to being mistake-ridden, your tirades have been abusive and childish and demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of both builds and the entire purpose of the page. Reverted, and please stay away from my work in the future.S1Q3T3 18:15, 20 January 2009 (MST)
You reverted... what? Me fixing the fact you messed up his AC on this page? OH WAIT, NO YOU DIDN'T. Your defensive attitude is just getting quite boring, bordering on being so stubborn, you can't even admit your own work isn't ask good as you think it is. As long as you make stupid assumptions, I'm going to be here to tell you they're stupid. Some people just can't accept the truth. --TK-Squared 06:39, 21 January 2009 (MST)
Cut back on the antagonism. Last warning. Feel free to criticize, but there's no need for such belligerence. --Daniel Draco 08:42, 21 January 2009 (MST)
Yeah hostilities are getting nowhere. I saw the entire discussion and I have 2 comments: 1) someone need to formate this 2) It getting a little rough. Also I shall add some constructive criticisms. Ares is funnily built, I think his build need a revision. He could be better, like adding levels in Frenzied Berserker (im kidding) :D. I think he could use a PrC. I don't have deity and demigod with me but his salient divine abilities seem to have been mistakingly chosen. Mind it could be an error of my part however.--Lord Dhazriel 11:55, 21 January 2009 (MST)
I created Ares using the SRD stuff on this site. I don't have any books for it either. Ares is not an optimized build -- he's an NPC, a challenge for the build. I tried to give him class levels and powers that were appropriate for him. I'm sure you could make a more dangerous lesser god in any number of ways (let me tell you, if you've never done it, that designing a divinity is no joke; it's complicated. If he is missing some great magic item or prestige class, it is not because I didn't want him to be strong; it's because it took hours to construct this scene and I was ready to be done with it.) That's not the point; the test of a build is not whether an ECL20 character can take on a rank 10 divinity and win. The point of the fight is to suggest (as a possibility, not a fact) that the Ultimate Monk could, in some campaigns and some configurations, need rebalancing. That's all. It's not like a tournament fight on paper. If the Ares I created as a lesser god had been too tough for the Ultimate Monk, I would have designed a lesser challenge that he could surmount. The part of it I'm the most proud of is the epilogue -- I think it's funny.
I've already incorporated a number of suggestions from the talk page and made changes in response to a number of objections. I see no reason for anyone with a suggestion or an objection to present it in a hostile or belittling way. I'm not an expert in D&D and I never claimed to be. If you for some odd reason hate the Ultimate Monk and passionately want Ares to prevail, I have news: you aren't fighting against me. I created both of those characters. I may have a favorite child (and you can guess who that is) but they are both my offspring.S1Q3T3 13:46, 21 January 2009 (MST)

Ultimate [Insert Your Favorite Class Here][edit]

I've been thinking a little more about the idea of pursuing a strategy similar to the Ultimate Monk's (UM) with other class compositions, leaving the monk out the the picture. I came to the conclusion that it's rather difficult to do, although I'm sure others will have other ideas about how better to pursue such an optimization. I'd love to get input on that. I'm not an expert by an stretch of the imagination. But here's what I came up with:

You could pursue Polymorph/high base damage/multiple buffs with a warrior/arcane spellcaster combination. Say, something like Fighter 5/Sorcerer 5/Eldritch Knight 10. You end up with a BAB +17 (nice) and 14 levels in Sorcerer, allowing you to cast Polymorph as a quickened spell. (But you don't get it as a quickened (7th-level) spell until you have at least Fighter 1/Sorcerer 5/Eldritch Knight 10, in contrast to the UM, who can get it with Monk 6/Psionic Fist 9 with Overchannel and an ioun stone. (They can get Metamorphosis itself by Monk 6/Psionic Fist 7 if they can purchase a Psychic Chirurgery spell, vs Monk 6/Psionic Fist 9 if they can't.)

Now we need a weapon to do the damage. If you start out with a Large Greataxe (via Monkey Grip) you get 2d10 right away. That's a strong start, equal to the Monk's base damage at 20th level without improved natural attack. There are some problems, however.

First, Enlarge, in contrast to Expansion, gives you only one increase in size category. So with a size G Polymorph form, you will still be size C, in contrast to the UM, who will enhance Expansion and get to C+.

Second, you can't use Improved Natural Attack. So while INA + 2d10(M) + C+ gives you 24d8 base damage, 2d10 + C gives you only 12d8. You will get more Str bonus and more Power Attack bonus (because you are using a two-handed weapon), but your base damage will be an average of 54 points less than the UM. The monk also has the capacity to pick up prestige classes that raise his base damage further; warshaper and initiate of the draconic mysteries. Feorn, with four levels in the latter (+1 die size) and one in the former (+1), maxes out at 48d8 base damage, an average difference of 162hp per strike. (At those levels of damage, of course, you reach a point of diminishing returns; against many foes, much of that damage will be wasted blow-through. Base 48d8 is really only useful against Great Wyrms and Tarrasques and the occasional unruly god. Which is a good thing, as it means the monk is not heavily dependent on the Wyvern form; Sun Giant base damage would be 32d8; Dire Bear base damage, 24d8.)

Third, you have a significant problem that is not obvious at first glance: what to do with the axe. When you Enlarge, it grows with you, but not so when you Polymorph. It can stay the same or merge into your form, but it does not become a Colossal+ Greataxe. Consequently, you need to keep at least a size C Greataxe handy to have in your hands when you Enlarge (remember, with Monkey Grip, you're using an axe one size larger than you). A size M Greataxe weighs 12 pounds and is about 5 feet long. A size C Greataxe would weigh sixteen times as much and be two-and-a-half times as long (192 pounds and 12.5 feet long). You will need, at the minimum, a Bag of Holding to lug the thing around (creating a problem with bringing out your weapon as a free action, as it is now concealed; does Instant Summons work on an object in a Bag of Holding?), unless you have a special magic size-variable axe. You also need another Greataxe, for when you're not Polymorphed. Doubtless this is an obstacle that can be overcome (one way that occurred to me is a prepared Contingency spell plus Major Creation; you just make an axe when you need one. Requires caster level 15; pick up an orange ioun stone), but it is notable that the UM always has weapons of the appropriate size.

The arcane spellcaster also lacks the equivalent of Hustle (an extra move action) and Psionic Lion's Charge (full attacks after charge). So it's harder for the arcane build to be a stick-and-move fighter, like the UM. There are other strategies he could pursue, of course.

You can overcome a lot of these problems by turning to a Psychic Warrior, who has Expansion as well as many powers (Claws of the Beast, Bite of the Wolf, Hostile Empathic Transfer, Dissolving Touch) that allow him to avoid the Greataxe storage problem. (And Hustle and Psionic Lion's Charge, of course.) He could shape up to be a very dangerous character, no doubt about it. But he shares with the Eltritch Knight build certain disadvantages relative to the Monk.

The Psychic Warrior has a disadvantage in AC: he doesn't get the monk's class bonus or Wis bonus to AC. By ECL 20, with both builds' Wisdom pushing 30 (if they're smart; they both need it for their psionic powers) that's a difference on the order of 9-13 points of AC. Which the Psychic Warrior can make up with armor, of course; but in altered form, via Metamorphosis, you lose the armor the same way you lose the Greataxe; it falls to your feet or merges with your form. Again, this is not a huge advantage for the UM, and the Psychic Warrior has some things on his side, as well: higher manifester level, 6th-level powers, a couple more feats. But one sees, again, how monk powers work well with psionic powers and specifically with powers that alter your form.

The Psychic Warrior also loses out on Flurry, Evasion, and a +60 feet per round move bonus (which is an incredibly advantageous thing combined with things like Spring Attack or Hustle (Charge+move action to get away)).

I should say, again, that my aspirations for this build are not that it be overwhelmingly powerful, but that it be fun to play, which requires the ability to keep your power levels on a par with other PCs, and maybe slightly higher. I think the UM build achieves this, but there's always room for improvement, and there are certainly other builds that achieve this, too.S1Q3T3 13:46, 21 January 2009 (MST)

Good Advice:Eberron (Or, Beast Strike Who?)[edit]

you may want to look into a couple feats from Eberron and some of the items contained in them: Tashalatora from I believe Secrets of Sarlona, and some of the items from the Eberron Campaign Setting give Die size increases to unarmed Damage. -- Sleaker 15:09, 21 January 2009 (MST)
Great suggestion, thx.S1Q3T3 16:51, 21 January 2009 (MST)
I took your advice and looked into Eberron. I came across this great build, deftly handled by our own Sledged, and immediately I had to incorporate the Initiate of the Draconic Mysteries prestige class, 4 levels of which increase the monk's unarmed damage as if he were one size larger (in this case, 24d8 --> 32d8). Edited the character description and combat damage to reflect the new situation. I'll be adding this prestige class to the main page progression soon.S1Q3T3 18:25, 21 January 2009 (MST)
Also added a level of Warshaper. Note to literalists: the prestige class refers to the ability to change shape via racial ability, wild shape, and Polymorph. It doesn't mention Metamorphosis, but I take it as implied. If it troubles you and you want to use this build, chose a shifter instead of a human. They meet the requirement.
Now that the base damage is 48d8, even subtracting Beast Strike and Power Attack (I had to lose Shock Trooper and with it the ability to apply the Power Attack penalty to AC instead of BAB), Feorn kills Ares outright. I didn't want that outcome (ruins the epilogue) so I raised Ares' Constitution until he had a few hit points left.
Interestingly, the loss of Beast Strike (because it came from Dragon and not a sourcebook) which seemed so significant, is more than compensated for by the prestige class features Sledged has found. I had the same experience when I took out all the good stuff that was in Oriental Adventures; the build had to change a lot, but at the end of the day, it was more powerful than ever. This alteration also speaks to those who object that all the monk's power comes from psionic buffs; unbuffed, Feorn's unarmed attack base damage with his Monk's Belt is 8d8. Not too shabby. Which reminds me, I need to lose the Belt of Giant Strength -- it takes up the same slot as the Monk's Belt. Anybody have a good idea for keeping my Str the same so I don't have to change all the Str bonuses?S1Q3T3 18:55, 21 January 2009 (MST)
Have you used a tome for strength? That plus gauntlets of ogre power could get you to +6 strength. Even a +2 tome plus a potion of bulls str (or a psionic power equivalent) would get you where you need to be. -- 10:51, 22 January 2009 (MST)
Or you do the intelligent thing and combine the two making a Monk's Belt of Strength. Multiplying the minimum cost by 1.5. fyi, still doesn't beat Ares. --TK-Squared 10:55, 22 January 2009 (MST)
Some people don't like counting optimizations that use custom items. Yes, that is the obvious and intelligent thing to do, but it also makes the optimization less respectable. -- 13:34, 24 January 2009 (MST)

BAB and Power Attack[edit]

I just wanted to comment on the whole thing with Ares and Feorn. First is that BAB does not increase after 20th level. At one point someone was saying that they had a BAB of 60 or something like that. You can not have a BAB of 60 the highest is 20, because with a BAB progression of a fighter (the highest of the BAB progressions) at 20th level you have 20 BAB. Also the rules of Power Attack state;

On your action, before making attack rolls for a round, you may choose to subtract a number from all melee attack rolls and add the same number to all melee damage rolls. This number may not exceed your base attack bonus. The penalty on attacks and bonus on damage apply until your next turn.

Thus you can not have put 60 towards Power Attack since your BAB can not be higher than 20. Just and observation. -Sarrow 23:10, 22 January 2009 (MST)

Ares uses Divine Power which makes your BAB equal your Character Level, which for Ares is 60. --TK-Squared 06:54, 23 January 2009 (MST)
That's right. Also, divinities, like Epic PCs, continue to gain BAB +1 for every two levels after 20th. You may want to check out Epic Level Basics in the SRD -- I knew nothing about Epic rules when I started here and I found them very helpful.S1Q3T3 07:29, 23 January 2009 (MST)

Things That Aren't Right[edit]

I don't care if you're going to ignore me because you can't deal with how I am or because I'm "rude" or whatever, I'm going to point things out that are wrong with Ares anyway. Ultimately, because I believe if I inform you enough, you'll change it. You can go complaining to anyone you want, try and get me banned if you will, but all I'm trying to do is help you. Sure, you may not see that past the amusing things I say, but that's not my problem.

The way you communicate is your problem. If you address people out in the real world like you are me it's going to be a very serious problem eventually if it isn't already.
I'm sure you have some good points about the rules, and if we were curing cancer here, I'd have to look past the insults and try and glean them. But this is a hobby. I do it for fun. In the larger scheme of things, none of it matters. So why should I subject myself to obnoxiousness and insults? For what?

Firstly; Ares. He doesn't fit into the rules. Some of his stats are messed up and at least one of his item choices is weird.

I can well believe it. Have you tried creating a divinity according to the SRD rules? It's complex. I've been working on the Ultimate Monk on and off for the better part of a year, and there are still problems with the rules -- let alone sub-optimal choices, which I find every time I look at the build for more than five minutes.
Total Attack Bonus: Ares' total attack bonus will be BAB (+20 or +60 (Using Divine Power)) + Epic Bonus (+20) + Divine Rank (+10) + Strength (+17 base, +20 Divine Power). He also gains +5 while using the shortspear (Weapon Focus and Divine Weapon Focus) and another +5 for it's magic enhancements.
I don't think the Epic bonus stacks with the BAB from Divine Power; "epic attack bonus," I think, is just the SRD's awkward way of rehashing the epic BAB progression (as in "additional character levels beyond an effective character level of 20th follow the rules for epic levels.")
Ares doesn't get the benefit of Divine Weapon Focus, because he cannot use divine salient abilities while raging. He would lose the benefit of Supreme Initiative (and then he could really be screwed) but he can use Supreme Initiative, win initiative, and then activate his rage. S1Q3T3 17:32, 24 January 2009 (MST)
Size: There's no given size that he initially has. Is he Medium, Large, Small or Colossal+++++? All one can do is assume he's medium, due to the low strength score for any other size category. When using Alter Size, his strength will change accordingly to the new form changed and he'll get +8 from each step. Medium -> Large -> Huge -> Gargantuan -> Colossal, which is 4 steps and +36 strength.
I assumed medium, and intended to incorporate his Str bonus and and AC/attack penalties. You notice he has a +22 Str bonus (+25 after divine favor) implying a Str of 54, even only 44 (with rage) shows up on the table. It's definitely possible I messed an adjustment somewhere.
AC: Ares' AC should be Base 10 + Divine Ranks (10) + Dex (9) + Armor (+0?) Shield (+0?) + Natural Armor (23 + 10 (Enhancement)) + Deflection (7), which is a total of 69. The strange thing is how he lacks armour and a shield bonus. He'd only lose the shield bonus after he uses it as a weapon.
I had a shield bonus and took it out. I didn't know he could get the bonus until his first attack with it. I was under the impression I had made a mistake giving Ares an Amulet of Natural Armor, because I thought upon reflection it wouldn't stack with his own natural armor. But as you rightly point out, it does. He has modifiers for charging and rage, so he finishes at 60.
Feats: Ares has Thundering Rage twice and already gets Mighty Rage from Barbarian 20. These two feats can be replaced by something akin to his battle style; like Instantaneous Rage (For the quick raging abilities combined with his automatic actions) and Battle Jump (As he's fond of Leap Attacking and has a huge Jump modifier).
Does he not have Instantaneous Rage? That's usually the first thing I give a raging character. Fixed.
Divine Salient Abilities: Ares cannot take Irresistible Blows or Avatar. Avatar requires 29 charisma, which Ares does not have, and Irresistible Blows requires Improved Critical with his shortspear, which he does not have also.
I'm sure I can find a feat slot for Improved Critical. Perhaps I'll raise his Charisma. He's not a popular guy, on the other hand, he did score with Aphrodite, so he's got to have something going for him in that department.
Items: Why does he have a Mantle of Epic Spell Resistance? It gives him SR 40, which is 2 less than his own Spell Resistance of 42 (32 + Divine Rank). The money there could be spent on things like a Ring of Continuous Divine Power or Bite of the Werebear (Spell Compendium) (Using the creating magic items rules, or a Belt of Magnificence (Miniature's Handbook).
You would probably be horrified at the way I chose Ares' items; I just went through the Epic lists and grabbed things I thought looked powerful and useful. There was no money limit for Ares. I just tried to get things that were powerful and in character for him.
Damage Reduction: Nothing too big, but Ares also has Damage Reduction 5/- from his levels in Barbarian.
Does that stack with his divine damage reduction? I was under the impression different sources of damage resistance didn't stack.
It's kind of like spell resistance. Some sources say they stack, some don't. And both appear in the core 3 books. Your guess is as good as mine. Surgo 14:14, 23 January 2009 (MST)
Knowledge of his Opponent: Previously you stated that we were assuming both parties had intricate knowledge of each other. This is incorrect. We assume that Ares had used his Divine Recall ability for Arts of Violence in order to discern Feorn's attack style and his general attack routine based on the opponents he's fought, Surely, this cannot be a thing not to expect, as Ares is intelligent, not just a chaotic coward with a destructive force.
I think that's a reasonable assumption, but the question is twofold; how much effort did he put into the study (a function of having the wisdom to recognize a danagerous foe) and what did he glean from it (he would not necessarily know whether Feorn had spell resistance or not, or how hard he could hit even a god.) Above I used the example of Athena; Athena is a goddess of war, skill at crafts, and wisdom. If I were running her as an encounter, she would know everything and take no unnecessary risks. Ares' capabilities, and more importantly, Ares' personality is very different from that. Like all of us, he has strengths and weaknesses.

Ares' Terrifying Rage[edit]

Combat: The problem that first appears in combat is that Ares has Terrifying Rage, which forces an intimidate check (from Ares) vs. Feorn's Will save. While Feorn's will save is high, Ares' intimidate check, in theory, would be extremely high, especially due to his extraordinary amount of levels and his divine rank of 10. This would also be why his Jump check is so high. This means that Feorn automatically becomes panicked when he views Ares, unless he rolls a natural 20, which is only a 5% chance of occurring and optimization never assumes it.
That's a good catch. The things I'll need to decide are Ares' ranks in Intimidate (at least 40, possibly more) and whether he activated his rage and then altered his form or vice versa. I'll also have to calculate Feorn's Will save and consider whether there are any psionic powers he might have invoked. With 40 ranks, if he raged before changing size, Feorn's save number is better than a natural 20, but much beyond that, Feorn 1.0 is panicked and probably doomed.
On the other hand, Feorn in his current incarnation is protected by a Third Eye Conceal, whose description states: "This power protects against all mind-affecting powers and effects as well as information-gathering by clairsentience powers or effects (except for metafaculty)." This resembles Mind Blank, whose summary states: "Subject immune to mental/emotional effects, scrying, and remote viewing." Although the panic of Terrifying Rage is not supernatural, it's certainly an "effect," per the SRD description of deity's immunity to mind-effecting affects: "A deity is immune to mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects)." Terrifying Rage is a morale effect, hence it is a mind-affecting effect, hence his Third Eye Conceal protects Feorn completely.
So he would seem to be OK there, although elsewhere in the power description the effect is described as applying to "all devices, powers, and spells." If we got back to the analogous arcane spell (a procedure I recommended above for understanding the limits of Polymorph) we find the more generous description: "This spell protects against all mind-affecting spells and effects." Definitely an arguable point, but I'd say Feorn is safe (unless there's a clarification from Wizards I'm not aware of.)
Combat: Even if we ignore his Terrifying Rage ability, Ares still has Shock Trooper as Feorn does. The question comes of why Ares doesn't shift his own penalty to AC; surely he can rationalize that he'd rather hit his enemy, but doesn't care about being hit.
He could, but in this case he didn't. Your point about Terrifying Rage is the kind of thing I want to know about and address. This is more in the realm of "What if he had known what was going to happen and had done something different?"
Dexterity: Where did 4 points of dexterity go? Some how, he loses them and I'm not entirely sure why. First, I thought it could've been due to Alter Size, but that doesn't decrease dexterity (nor does it increase Con).
Not sure. I'll look into it.

So, anyway, ignore my points as much as you want, complain/report whatever.

If you get abusive or derogatory again, I absolutely will. I refuse to get into a flame war with you, and I don't see any reason why I should have to listen to your insults. Other people may cut you slack because you are knowledgeable about the game mechanic (as you clearly are) but I am not one of those people. If you want to lay out your points as you do here I'm happy to address them as best I can; your expertise, divorced from the negativity, is welcome.S1Q3T3 14:08, 23 January 2009 (MST)

I'm just telling you what's what in the vain hope that it'll help you. Oh, and combine your +Stat to a Belt of Magnificence (Miniature's Handbook, +6 all stats, 200,000gp) and add Monk's Belt to it (13,000x1.5 = 19500) for a total of 219,500. If you give up your Boots of Temporal Acceleration, which aren't all that useful to be honest (not at 1/day), you'll be left at 726,700gp. It may only increase your Strength by a further +2, but your dex will be increased to 22 and your con to 42.

We understand what you're trying to point out; that the Ultimate Monk may be unbalanced due to some of the things it can do. What we're trying to point out is that it isn't based on the opponent chosen.

I'm not sure that follows. There's a big difference between saying that Ares could have fought better or been designed better and saying that Feorn only looks good because Ares is weak. That's a stretch: in fact, Ares is not the ideal opponent to show off what the Ultimate Monk can do; his Supreme Initiative ability means you don't get to see any of the speed and maneuverability that the build has.
I think the example supports what is stated in the body of the text (which is all that an example is supposed to do): that some of the things the Ultimate Monk can do in combat might suggest to a reasonable person that the Ultimate Monk could be unbalancing in certain games. That's a low bar, intentionally so. I'm going to quote myself here, because I really get the feeling no one read past the combat example:
A psychic warrior or an Epic Druid or an arcane spellcaster could emulate much of what the Ultimate Monk does.
Furthermore, the Ultimate Monk comes by his power honestly; he acquires it slowly, over many levels, at the cost of reduced hit points, mediocre armor class, and a so-so BAB. In this, he is much like the arcane spellcaster, but he will never achieve the near-limitless flexibility accorded to the arcane spellcaster by the nature of spellcasting. A punch, however powerful, is never going to do all the things a wish can do.
But the Ultimate Monk may be radically overpowered for the campaign you are running. Especially compared to other fighting classes -- Fighters, Barbarians, Paladins and Rangers -- it is easy to see how the monk could run away with the game. How do you handle it?
Pretty noncommittal, when you come right down to it, isn't it? He could outshine the other fighting classes. Maybe. What do I recommend: try him in your game and see.
If you don't think there's a potential balance problem, presumably you never clicked on the link or did so only to amuse yourself. I never set out to persuade people the Ultimate Monk is a very powerful build past ECL 15 or so. Rightly or wrongly, I think that's obvious. What I was trying to do with the page, because I like the idea of the build getting used in play, it to suggest to people who already think the build is overpowered that I understand why they might think so and I can suggest some modifications to tone it down.
As I said to Draco, I'd be more than happy to do an actual test (of the kind we all agree that this is not.) Apart from gauging the power level of the UM, I'm sure it would lead me to things that would strengthen the build, as this discussion already has.S1Q3T3 17:19, 23 January 2009 (MST)

As, I believe, you previously stated; you've made as many mistakes as we have. You've changed Feorn's attacks based on things. We're not the characters in a theoretical battle; all we can do is change our assumptions on what they do based on what we assume they know and what we did wrong. --TK-Squared 07:50, 23 January 2009 (MST)

Well, personally, I thought your statements were more insulting than funny (my personal opinion), though, now that you have tried being civil, you do in fact raise some good points. → Rith (talk) 10:50, 23 January 2009 (MST)

Oak Body power[edit]

You cannot use the Oak Body power to double the damage of an attack of opportunity. You need a full attack. This reduces the damage taken by Ares in the first round from 2343 to 1480.
Home of user-generated,
homebrew pages!