In the dark streets and lightless alleys, the children of the night play their games of power and intrigue. One such game unfolds now, as Continue reading
Hi All! @DndPrincessAria here with the last segment of my Psionic Power reviews (sad, I know). This time, all eyes are on the monk class! I know many people who said “Monks in Psionic Power? Monks aren’t Psions!” and I fully agree that fluff-wise, monks are supposed to be divine, but hey, maybe the gods favor their true warriors with power based on mental discipline, not sheer religious devotion. That’s how I choose to look at it, and this view works rather well with the Psionic Powers options. The main idea behind 4e monks is to combine mind, body, and soul into one. Thus, as Monks level, they become stronger both physically and in mental prowess.
The new build presented in Psionic Power for the monk is called Iron Soul. These are the monks who are awesome enough to go beyond unarmed combat and incorporate weapons, without losing the finesse that monks are so well known for. Their flurry of blows is similar to the normal power, a free action which deals 2+Con mod damage to one creature after you hit with an attack that turn (the number of opponents you get to hit with this increases by tier). Also, as a class feature, you get a +1 bonus to AC when wielding a weapon. I’ve yet to run into a character with this build, but I believe that combining weapon damage with the lightning fast attack powers of a monk would be quite the powerful combo.
So now we move on to powers, at-wills to be exact. There are only three at-wills in this book, so I’ll just cover them all J. At level one you have Lion’s Den and Steel Wind. The attack technique of Lion’s Den is a Dex vs. Ref attack with a d6+Dex Mod damage, but the cool thing is that if you hit, until the start of your next turn you get to deal Con Mod damage as a free action to any enemy that comes up to you. The Move technique lets you shift and gain a power bonus to defenses. Steel wind’s attack technique seems much more useful in my opinion, since it’s a blast 2 with d8+Dex Mod damage to each enemy. The movement is a mark removal and a nice little speed bonus. At level 2, Fall of Wind is a utility which reduces falling damage (useful, I can say by experience, especially when your entire party falls fifty feet into a pit of giants).
For encounters, I’m only going to cover the attack technique, unless the movement is just plain amazing. In the heroic tier, I like Stinging Nettles (level 1) . One creature, Dex vs. Fort, with 2d10 plus Dex mod damage, and a free action damage dealing move against any enemy who hits you. If you are the Iron Soul build and wielding a weapon, you get to prevent your target from making opportunity attacks, which is great for protecting the party squishies who want to move far, far away. In paragon tier, I like Feigned Opening. This attack lets you pull your target 2 squares, and if that movement happens to bring them next to you, they take 3d6+Dex mod of damage and grants Combat advantage! Iron Souls get to deal extra damage with this attack. And when you reach those epic levels, monks even get to do some ranged damage with Lightning Throw. After a successful hit (which does a ton of damage by the way) you get to make a ranged 10 attack which does 2d12+Wis mod lightning damage and blinds them! Oh, and if that wasn’t good enough, the movement technique lets you fly at your speed+2, and targets adjacent to you when you land get shocked with lightning.
Monk dailies really are rather impressive, especially on the striker side (read, they do damage, then they do it again, then they do it squared). In heroic tier, I actually prefer a daily utility called Airborne Form. This power is a stance, which until it is ended, lets you move with a power bonus of +2, become insubstantial, and move through enemy squares. I think that a monk who’s insubstantial and can move anywhere he or she gosh darn pleases is the nightmare even Orcus wakes up crying to. For a heroic daily attack, try Thunderbolt Surge. 2d10+Dex mod thunder damage, which is pretty good at level five, but it also knocks everything adjacent to you prone.
Prone is basically an annoyance to whoever is hit with it, but it also helps grant combat advantage to make the target easier to hit by your allies. I’m really beginning to think the monk has a nice little side niche as leader, but one who gets up close and personal, leading the charge.
Paragon tier brings Quickening Assault (level 15), which does a lot of basic damage (3d10+Dex mod to be specific, with half on a miss), but the after effect is very nice. On the next monk at-will you use, you deal an extra d10 of damage, and it even does half damage on a miss.
Onwards and upwards to epic tier, I have to cover two, just because they’re neat. Falling Star Strike (level 29), lets you teleport your speed, show up 50 feet above the square of your destination, then of course, you fall without taking damage, and attack everything within burst two of you. The damage? 3d10+dex mod of fire, radiant, and thunder damage, and then on top of that, everyone’s blinded. It creates a fire zone, and does half damage on a miss. I hath nicknamed that power Thor’s Hammer, and for good reason (and if you’re an Iron Soul, you could do it…with a hammer!). Titan’s Mighty Grasp has to be covered just because of the damage output. 5d12+Dex mod, the target is grabbed, and until they escape? Dex+2 vs Fort, 3d10+Strength mod damage and the target can’t attempt to escape.
So overall, what have we learned today? Monks are driven by psionic power, can use weapons, do damage like it’s their job (well, it kind of is), and do quite a bit of neat tricks to help out fellow party members. All in all, a fun class, with some great new options in Psionic Power.