I've been toying around with a build idea: a Pally Monk that focuses on unarmed combat using all the nice ways that Pally's get to enhance their damage/attacks. It certainly won't be anywhere near the top of the DPS scale, but I'm wondering just how viable it would be. I've sketched out the build below, and in the final section, I voice some concerns and questions.
I see the class split as 10 Pally/6 Monk right now, eventually going to 14 Pally/6 Monk. This gets you the second (Adept) tier of stances, allowing for increased melee speed, I believe. The sixth Monk level also gets an extra Monk Feat (though I'm kind of hard pressed as to what to choose for that one).
However, I was also thinking 18 Pally / 2 Monk might be ok. You lose the second tier stance, but it opens up Divine Might III and Exalted Smith IV. You would also get longer lasting Zeals (come the next mod), your Exalted Smite damage would increase, and it allows the possibility of the third tier Prestige Class. I think it could be interesting mixing in the Knight of the Chalice for even more damage (though I'm not sure if I would have enough AP points to do it all).
Anyways, beyond the level split issue, below is how I see the rest of the build. I'm going with Human because of the extra Feat and more versatility in terms of how to play the build out down the road.
Str: 16 (+4 Level Ups + 2 Favor Tome + 6 Item) = 28 + 2 Rage Pot = 30
Dex: 15 (+2 Tome, which I do have, + 1 Human Enhancement = 6 Item) = 24
Con: 14 (+6 Item) = 20
Wis: 10 (+6 Item) = 16
Cha: 14 (+3 Pally Enhancements + 1 Human Enhancement + 6 Item) = 24
As you can see, there's really nothing extravagant going on in the Stat/Tome department. There's the favor tome for Strength, but beyond that, only a +2 Dex Tome (which, as I indicated, I already have). Dex has to be where it's at for the two-weapon fighting feats. Strength of course is necessary for damage and to-hit. Charisma is also important of course. I didn't put much into Wisdom, since this really isn't going to be an AC build and I think (hope) I have enough SP anyways. The build doesn't really need much in terms of skill points, so I left Int empty.
Level 1 (Mnk) - Two-Weapon Fighting, Toughness (Mnk), Stunning Blow (Human)
Level 2 (Pally) - N/A
Level 3 (Pally) - Weapon Focus Bludgeon (I was also thinking Skill Focus UMD)
Level 4 (Mnk) - Power Attack (Mnk Feat)
Level 5 (Pally) - N/A
Level 6 (Pally) - Extend (Nice for Divine Favor and Zeal)
Level 7 (Mnk) - Path of Harmonious Balance
Level 8 (Pally) - N/A
Level 9 (Pally) - Improved Critical Bludgeon
Level 10 (Mnk) - N/A
Level 11 (Pally) - N/A
Level 12 (Mnk) - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 13 (Pally) - N/A
Level 14 (Pally) - N/A
Level 15 (Mnk) - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Toughness (Mnk Feat)
Level 16 (Pally) - N/A
As you can see, for the third Monk Feat, I took Toughness again. There really wasn't much else to choose from. I might have gone for Lightning Reflexes, but the extra HP seemed more desirable because the Wind Stances take away from Con.
The skill point distribution is pretty simple. Start with Monk and put everything into Balance, Jump, Concentration and UMD. At subsequent Monk levels, I get 4 skill points that go into those same four skills. At the Pally levels, I get 2 skill points that go into Concentration and UMD. At level 16, this should put my skills at (unbuffed and no items):
I could actually get my UMD to a decent level. If I took Skill Focus UMD and factor in Human Versatility, I could get it boosted to around 30.
Example: 16.5 base + 3 Focus + 3 HV + 2 Heroism + 3 Golden Cartouche + 2 HGF = 29.5
The Enhancements are really where this build focuses. My thought is to get as many of the Pally Enhancements as I can, max them out as much as I can, and just alternate between them as their timers cool down.
At level 16, with 64 AP's:
Human side (Total of 12 AP spent):
Dex Adaptability (2 AP's)
Cha Adaptability (4 AP's)
Human Versatility II (3 AP's total)
Racial Toughness II (3 AP's total)
Monk side (Total of 7 AP spent):
Way of the Patient Tortoise (1 AP)
Adept of Wind (3 AP's total)
Adept of Flame (3 AP's total)
Pally side (Total of 45 AP spent):
Pally Charisma III (12 AP's total)
Extra Lay on Hands II (3 AP's total)
Pally Toughness IV (10 AP's total)
Extra Turning II (3 AP's total)
Extra Smite IV (10 AP's total)
Divine Sacrifice I (1 AP)
Exalted Smite II (3 AP's total)
Divine Might II (3 AP's total)
To get the second Divine Might, I would need to add a +2 Cha Tome (need a base of 16). If that doesn't happen, I could just take one of the Improved Recovery's instead.
Playstyle and Combat Profile
This is where I become a little clouded as to how the build will actually play out. And this where I'm hoping the more knowledgeable community will be able to help me out.
The build will utilize four main special attacks: Stunning Blow, Exalted Smite, Divine Sacrifice and Divine Might (I probably won't bother with Trip or Sunder since that would just be too many darn buttons).
Divine Sacrifice and Might are really situational, so I don't see myself using them that much. Divine Might will get turned on for Bosses. Sacrifice might be tossed in when I know I'm getting healed regularly (like Boss fights when I'm in the Mass Cure circle).
To be honest, I have no idea how many Smites I'll end up with at level 16. I get four extra from the Enhancements and Exalted Smite II reduces the cooldown to 4 seconds. I believe you regain a Smite every 90 seconds. I wonder if this will be enough to keep me Smiting at a regular interval (if I alternate with Stunning Blow) and what that interval would be...? At any rate, if I keep the 14 Pally / 6 Monk split, then I will advance to Exalted Smite III and Divine Sacrifice II by level 20.
Other than the special attacks, I plan on being in the second tier Wind Stance most of the time with Power Attack on all the time. And with the next mod, I will have access to Zeal, speeding up my attacks even more. What would the boost to attack speed be exactly? What's the bonus from the Adept of Wind stance, then stacked with Zeal and Haste?
I think my to-hit breaks down like this (at level 16):
Bludgeon Focus: +1
Str: +10 (Raged)
Handwraps: +5 (though could vary a lot between +1 and +9)
Power Attack: -5
= +28 on first attack, increasing subsequent attacks (I don't know the specifics)
That's with moderate buffs. With my Divine Favors, Greater Heroism and other miscellaneous buffs, I could see it getting into the mid-30's.
The damage profile is also beyond my math skills. I know the 6 levels of Monk give me an increase to unarmed damage, but I have no idea what that is (the Compendium's description of Unarmed Strike wasn't very helpful). I know that Power Attack will give me a +5 bonus to damage (to each hand?).
While Handwraps only have a base of 20/x2 crits, the Exalted Smiting opens that up to 18-20/x3 with double my Charisma bonus to attack. It also says I get an increase to damage based on my Pally levels, though I'm afraid I have no idea what that increase is.
I guess my main concern is whether or not the Exalted Smiting and the increased speed will be enough to somewhat make up for the lower damage profile I'm suffering from by using handwraps.
Given the core concept of this character and operating within that concept, is there a better way to accomplish my goals?
- Would you go 14Pal/6Mnk or 18Pal/2Mnk or some other split altogether?
- Is Divine Sacrifice worth it?
- Should I try to fit in Knight of the Chalice somehow with the next mod? Will I even have enough AP's?
- Would a different race be better?
- Is there a survivability issue? AC is nonexistent, HP is around 350 (depending on stances and buffs), Saves are in the low 30's (depending on buffs and items). Obviously not a solo build, but is the character too squishy?
- Forget it? Unworkable? Hopelessly gimped??
Thanks very much in advance!