Since it's not relevant to either class (both can take it just as easily) we ignore Nymph's Kiss entirely for this comparison. This is how we avoid Class X Fallacies. Also, being Exalted has serious problems and is not available in most games, I've found.
Yes, so at least we agree on the nymph’s kiss use. Then…you mean that playing a character of holiness is more of a problem than an undead from the underdark? Hmmm. Depends on the groups you play with, I’d say.
A Necropolitan can still easily be disguised as living, and only requires that the rest of the party be okay with undead (so, probably no paladins). An exalted character actually does go out of their way to force the entire party to be good, and is more holy than a Paladin... by a wide margin. So yes, I've found that a disguisable undead fits in much better than Exalted characters. Also, note that this isn't necessarily from the underdark... it's just a character that bought one thing which is mostly produced by the Desmodu. Desmodu are not setting specific, they just live underground.
You mean, more DMs will be ready to accept your expert build below, which is an undead character coming from the underdark setting, using a skill from the completely different oriental adventures campaign setting?;)Well...again, I’d say it depends on the group.
It's not an undead character from the underdark. Desmodu are from MMII and are not setting specific. Please keep your facts straight. While the Desmodu might be in the underdark, so are the Drow... but that doesn't make either creature setting specific, as both can exist elsewhere. But yes, more DMs are willing to handle an undead character than a character that can't possibly exist due to being from mutually exclusive settings.
So…you think the ability to emulate (just a fraction) of a monk’s class ability at level 7 (look at the price of the monk’s belt) would clearly equate the monk getting a large chunk of the expert’s class properties with just one feat at level 1 (skill prodigy)?
Considering the Expert wouldn't even bother doing so? I said very clearly that there's no reason they'd want to do it, but you've clearly stated your idea of a Monk is one that tries to be an Expert.
How do you compare classes?
By using equivalent levels of optimization to make appropriate characters of each class, and seeing how well they deal with appropriate challenges.
If a monk build would be focused on combat and his skills to boost that role, and the expert on skills for skillmonkeying outside combat – how could you compare them in an objective way to come to the conclusion: “but expert is really as strong as a monk, because he dealt with that trap equally well as the monk just tripped and killed that ogre”?
Simple. If you put both in the same party with the same optimization (roughly) in a reasonably normal campaign, would one clearly be outshining the other all the time, or would they basically do things about as well?
I am getting confused.
The monk does not try to “catch up” with the expert.
Yes, he did. The Monk you've been describing has spent half his free feats just trying to get what the Expert got for free at level 1. Plus he killed his other abilities by pumping his Int to 18 to pull it off, so he gimped the heck out of himself trying to do it, and is a failure as a Monk.
He can do most the expert can and STILL do all his other monk stuff. When an expert does not even try to reach the monk’s league of combat in turn, it’s a clear indication that indeed, the monk is better than the expert.
The build I showed is quite competent in combat. He doesn't try to flurry or use unarmed strikes because he's not a Monk, he uses skill. And his damage is far higher per hit in addition to poison effects.
Of course the monk’s bonus feats are not as good as having a free choice of four bonus feats. But they basically cover most of the monk’s combat ability already, leaving his freely choosable level feats for focusing on skills, in case the player wants to do that. The expert does not have that option, but has to choose four of HIS seven free feats for combat to try to equal the monk in combat (which I doubt is even possible), leaving both with the same remaining free feats.
Build this Monk. Remember, you made him Int 18 and burned four feats on skills. Note the point buy I used for my Expert... note how useless your Monk would be. Also, note that my build only used three feats and yet was quite effective in combat... more so than I'd imagine a similar Monk would be.
Exactly what I keep saying again and again: nobody cares that experts get to choose their class skills when choosing some feats lets you do the same thing (and the monk starts from a good class skill, anyhow).
Probably it is not a good idea to illustrate an expert’s skill advantages by saying that a cheap magic item can emulate a lot of a certain skill.
You spent FAR too much to do it. You killed your point buy and your combat feats. There's a big difference between "at the level a Ninja gets disguise self, everyone could trivially afford a Hat of Disguise" and "at the level an Expert gets any class skills he wants, a Monk could destroy all his own ability to emulate that."
JaronK- please show me: where have I ever said that the monk uses UMD better than other classes?
Every time you've said the Monk isn't weak compared to other classes by showing how they can use UMD, you've said this. Heck, your entire guide to monks boils down to begging the DM for partially charged wands.
Again some corrections (and I think it is important to know what a monk’s class abilities really do before judging whether they are useful or not).
1) Unarmed strike eventually does the biggest chunk of base damage in this game. 2d10 on a light weapon by level 20 simply cannot be surpassed (and all damage die increases will keep the unarmed strike ahead of anything else).
Base damage is irrelevant, only total damage matters. The Expert at level 20 with his Feycraft Quickrazor does 1d3+9d6 + poison damage per hit, while the Monk does 2d10 damage.
2) The slow fall ability is weak and easily emulated, true, but it is STILL USEFUL.
I've actually never seen it come up. If there's a wall right there, just climb down.
3) And the movement enhancement bonus is applied to all movement forms, not just land speed. This is a very powerful boost, in particular at high levels.
I bought a cheap bat and completely beat the Monk's run speed. In fact, the generally cheapest way to get flight speed is via mounts... which the Monk's speed boost is useless for.
When the monk with some feats covered already about 80% of what the expert does in his niche, while the expert cannot even hope to achieve the same combat strength as a monk, which class then is ahead in your eyes?
And btw your expert build TRIED to be a monk – in that he tried to also get the same kind of combat performance (but failed).
No, he didn't try to be a Monk. He tried to be a useful Expert. And he's far better than the Monk, because the Monk you used gave himself critical MAD failure.
Sure. Necropolitan Whispergnome Expert 6 with Charisma 14, Int 14, Dex 16, Con -, Wisdom 8, Str 6 (22 Point Buy). Skills: Maxed Iaijutsu Focus, Intimidate, UMD, Diplomacy, Move Silently, Hide, and Craft Poison, with a few ranks as needed in Handle Animal, Bluff, and Sense Motive. Feats: EWP: Gnomish Quickrazor, that feat that lets you use a first level psionic ability once in a while (take it for Psionic Minor Creation), Imperious Command. If Necropolitan isn't available, swap Imperious Command for Master of Poisons and take the point buy up a little to get a reasonable con score... you'll take Imperious Command later. Fly around on a Magebreed Warbeast Desmoderu Hunting Bat (this is a standard domesticated animal in the underdark, see MMII, and costs a pretty small amount of money) using poisonous attacks (Black Lotus Poison from Psionic Minor Creation) to kill enemies. Occasionally dismount and sneak up to kill enemies. At other times force them to cower via Imperious Command and let your bat trip and disable them before you go in for the kill. The Never Outnumbered skill trick is a good plan too. Other gear includes some basic armor, a crossbow with gnomish crossbow sight for sniping, a nice masterwork saddle, a few sets of marbles, and a bunch of skill boosting masterwork tools... and of course a Feycraft Quickrazor, so he can use Dex to hit with that without needing Weapon Finesse.
OK, first my comment on your build and comparison to monk, and then a level 6 monk build of mine.
Comment on your expert build
You have done a level 6 build whose abilities are strongly dominated by what the necropolitan template offers (immunity to poison and other undead traits, omitting CON stat to lower your point buy – would a DM demanding a low point buy really be fooled by this?), and used a feat for a psionic power to avoid paying the price of most powerful (touch attack) poison (one dose=4,500 gp, a third of level 6 wbl), which is like sidestepping wbl.
Note that the more powerful poison is Sinmaker's Surprise, with its higher DC (24) and acid damage that lands anyway (3d6 per hit). I'll be using that as soon as I get Master of Poisons, which means Necropolitan is mostly there for the ability to avoid being seen by Lifesight and for the Point Buy, as well as for the needed HP increase.
And of course it is a big joke that you say that this expert build hardly relies on items – he actually completely depends on items (CHR item for imperious command, quickrazor to apply iajutsu skill at all, touch poison to have any chance in combat, a mount for money to get flying speed etc.).
I said he doesn't rely on magic items. He needs a single +2 Cha item. Everything else is mundane. Of course I use a few (mundane) items, but they're items that work with the class itself.
Plus – how do you get the necropolitan template? I do not have the libris mortis here, and googling it suggests you lose a level and pay gold plus XP to get it.
3kgp and a level, IIRC. You gain the level back quite quickly... you DO know how Exp works in this game, right? I'm certainly well below WBL with this build.
Can that really be your answer to build an expert showing how great the expert class abilities are?
Yes, I used his skills. Every choice was made working with that.
So…picking powerful template and not following wbl…
I'm WELL within WBL for level 6. You can afford the Necropolitan transition at level 3. Other than the Cha boost item, nothing in that build costs more than 1kgp.
not that representative for a class’s strength, I daresay. Also, it would be great to know what that psionic-power-getting feat really does and where it comes from. Since it apart from the undead type the main pillar of this expert build, you should describe it more than just “that feat that lets you use a first level psionic ability once in a while”.
I blanked on the name, but it just lets you use a first level psionic ability once per day. So you have poison for six hours per day.
More detailed questions on the expert build:
- How will this character sneak up on someone with a spot and listen skill of -1 (no ranks, WIS penalty)? It is great that in the future some time he’ll take lifesight, but right now he is completely useless as a scout.
The bat auto-detects at 100 feet out. When that's not an option, he just gets up close... the enemy can't see him, and against any enemy that's not hiding he'll spot them plenty far out. Most enemies aren't hiding when you find them. Generally speaking, adventurers are on the offensive... you're sneaking into the enemy dungeon. As such, you are hiding and sneaking up on them, and they're not hiding.
On the bat mount and handle animal, a lot of questions: What are the stats of this bat thing?
See MMII. It's a CR 4 creature... it's under D (Desmodu Hunting Bat). The Warbeast template (necessary because it gives a cost for the creature) is at the end of MMII. Also see Magebreed if that's available (though hardly necessary, it does help)
How likely is it that it will survive encounters for level 6 characters on a regular basis? Read: how often per average encounter will this expert have to cough up money for it again and take off 6 weeks for training another one?
With 47 Hp and an AC of around 24 (with some cheap studded leather barding) he's far more durable than most Monks. So, less often per average encounter than the Monk has to make a new character sheet.
And what if that expert then had moved to a different country where no such bats are available?
He buys a different domesticated animal, obviously. Maybe something with a burrow speed if it's an underground area, or a climb speed if it's mountainous, or a fast movement speed in the plains. As a rule societies have the right sort mounts for their area.
Plus, is such a mount as an animal ready to accept an undead as a rider?
By RAW, yes.
Or would this mean “pushing the animal” (since it is something it would not normally do) ,thus costing a full round action every turn to even use it? [/li][/list]
Worst case, one of his 6 to 8 tricks (which are trained in to begin with) is used up on this, but by RAW it's okay even without that.
Since you maxed 7 skills (with your 8 total skill points/lvl), you’ll need 5 ranks at least for the handle animal to train a combat mount by taking 10 safely. This leaves 5 points only for sense motive and bluff (not enough to raise both to provide synergy bonuses, if that is what you were after).
No, I just bought the bat. You can do that you know. They're sold in markets like Warhorses.
As far as I can see your expert has no ranks in riding (nor ride as a class skill) –meaning with a masterwork saddle and handle animal synergy bonus he has a bonus of +7 to ride. Is this enough for mounted combat? I have doubts. [/li][/list]
It's DC 5 to ride such a creature without penalties. I don't even need the synergy bonus. Seriously, do you even know the rules?
- This expert’s initiative modifier is +3. Is that enough to safely assume he’ll get opponents flat-footed often?
No, that's what marbles and sneaking up for surprise rounds are for.
- This expert’s attack bonus is +8. Is that enough to reliably hit opponents to even do iajutsu damage?
Not amazingly, but he's T5. He's hitting with about half his attacks.
- The iajutsu damage is currently going to be +4d6 (at a likely +14 skill bonus as far as I can see) for one attack per encounter. Deduct from that the -2 of damage and you get on the first round (even if it works) in melee +12 damage. So even, if iajutsu works, what is that going to matter in combat vs CR 6 creatures?
You forgot the 3d6 Con damage, which can instant kill many CR 6s. Also, it's not one attack per encounter. He can just drop marbles under the creature.
- If I calculate this correctly, your whisper gnome’s intimidate is basically +16 (9 ranks, +3 CHR, +2 masterwork item, +2 in case of bluff raised to 5 ranks). Impressive –but of the SRD’s CR 6 monsters, almost all are either large (or bigger size) and thus have at least +8 on their opposing roll (+ their HD and will save bonus), or are only medium size (only +4), but still with enough HD and will save bonus to likely win the intimidate check, or are outright immune to intimidation. Plus, the whispergnome expert with his no-CON-bonus and even with undead 1d12hp HD has to go into melee to do intimidate. Not a good idea.
At level 6, assuming he was created in a Desecrated Area (standard practice), he has 6d12+12 hp, or 56 hp. How much does your Int 18 Monk have? His intimidate bonus isn't great yet but it will be over time. Where it works it will work and where it won't he won't. He won't use that on immunes, obviously.
(PS: you cannot use a lyre of building to craft poison faster; it can only be used for building).
You might want to read that item over again. It does in fact say you can "magically construct... whatever." So, go nuts. But that wasn't for poison making. That was for making anything he cares to make. I just like making things. That could be forts, or it could be new armor... whatever works.
Still…let us assume for a short while all of this would be accepted by the DM. Now let us see what happens when we build the monk with the same gadgets…(including those that I considered doubtful – like undead, poison and bat mount- but omitting those that I described as not really useful – like imperious command and iajutsu focus).
You just don't understand how to use Iaijutsu Focus (you didn't get what the marbles were for), but more to the point your Monk is incapable of using Iaijutsu Focus.
Monk level 6 build
Necropolitan Whispergnome Monk 6 with Charisma 14, Int 14, Dex 16, Con -, Wisdom 8, Str 6 (22 Point Buy).
No no, Int 18, remember? No using Shrodinger's Monk. So, tank some of your scores here.
Skills: Maxed UMD, Diplomacy, Move Silently, Hide, and Craft Poison, with a few ranks as needed in Handle Animal (for that bat mount, if that is really feasible, see my doubts above) and Sense motive. Feats: Skill Prodigy (for UMD and possibly handle animal), that feat that lets you use a first level psionic ability once in a while (take it for Psionic Minor Creation), Improved natural attack.
The differences to the expert for the time being that
- no iajutsu focus is needed (and hence no EWP gnomish quickrazor) since the unarmed damage is way more powerful (see also below).
Sorry, you don't have Weapon Finesse and since you're using that oh so superior unarmed strike, you can't have feycraft stuff. Your base to hit is only +1 when flurrying. You're an incompetent failure. Don't forget your damage, which instead of 1d3+4d6, is instead 1d8-2. If you use Sleeping Tiger so you can hit the broadside of a barn, then that bonus feat advantage you talked so much about is blown on just being able to catch up with the Expert again (Weapon Finesse instead of just using a Feycraft Weapon) and while you have nice initiative, that's about it. And your damage is piss poor due to dropping Str.
The monk at this point is already better, since:
While doing the same touch poison attacks at melee and ranged and being immune to poison, being good in stealth (though as bad as a scout due to lack of spot/listen – but having more potential since has those as class skills as opposed to JaronK’s monk) and social situations etc.
The poison isn't a touch attack, you have to hit them with your +1 to hit (or if you can hit, you still have no damage to speak of and your feats are blown). I'm sorry, but you've completely failed to be a melee class, because you were trying to be an expert. You're utterly useless. You have failed completely to make a Monk. Try again, this time stop trying to be an expert. Make a real Monk.
And don't forget, your Int had to be 18, because you've been saying this whole time your int was 18. Don't forget to use your bonus feats to have some actual advantage this time, not just a chance to catch up to the Expert again.