For the truly exemplary, martial skill transcends the battlefield—it is a lifestyle, a doctrine, a state of mind. These warrior-artists search out methods of battle beyond swords and shields, finding weapons within themselves just as capable of crippling or killing as any blade. These monks (so called since they adhere to ancient philosophies and strict martial disciplines) elevate their bodies to become weapons of war, from battle-minded ascetics to self-taught brawlers. Monks tread the path of discipline, and those with the will to endure that path discover within themselves not what they are, but what they are meant to be.
Role: Monks excel at overcoming even the most daunting perils, striking where it’s least expected, and taking advantage of enemy vulnerabilities. Fleet of foot and skilled in combat, monks can navigate any battlefield with ease, aiding allies wherever they are needed most.
Alignment: Any lawful
Hit Die: d8
Starting Wealth: 1d6 × 10 gp (average 35 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.
The monk’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the monk.
Monks are proficient with the brass knuckles, cestus, club, crossbow (light or heavy), dagger, handaxe, javelin, kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shortspear, short sword, shuriken, siangham, sling, spear and temple sword.
Armor and Shield Proficiency: Monks are not proficient with any armor or shields. When wearing armor, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load, a monk loses his AC bonus, as well as his fast movement and flurry of blows abilities.
AC Bonus (Ex)
When unarmored and unencumbered, the monk adds his Wisdom bonus (if any) to his AC and his CMD. In addition, a monk gains a +1 bonus to AC and CMD at 4th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every four monk levels thereafter, up to a maximum of +5 at 20th level.
These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the monk is flat-footed. He loses these bonuses when he is immobilized or helpless, when he wears any armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.
Flurry of Blows (Ex)
The monk rules for flurry of blows state: “For the purpose of these attacks, the monk’s base attack bonus is equal to his monk level.” How does this interact with BAB from class levels and racial Hit Dice? Does a multiclassed fighter 19/monk 1 flurry as if his BAB were only +1?
A monk using flurry treats his BAB from monk levels as equal to his monk level. He still adds BAB from other sources (such as other classes or racial Hit Dice) normally to this total.
When I use flurry of blows, can I make all of the attacks with just one weapon, or do I have to use two, as implied by the ability functioning similarly to Two-Weapon Fighting?
You can make all of your attacks with a single monk weapon. Alternatively, you can replace any number of these attacks with an unarmed strike. This FAQ specifically changes a previous ruling made in the blog concerning this issue.
Starting at 1st level, a monk can make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action.
When doing so, he may make one additional attack, taking a –2 penalty on all of his attack rolls, as if using the Two-Weapon Fighting feat. These attacks can be any combination of unarmed strikes and attacks with a monk special weapon (he does not need to use two weapons to utilize this ability).
For the purpose of these attacks, the monk’s base attack bonus from his monk class levels is equal to his monk level. For all other purposes, such as qualifying for a feat or a prestige class, the monk uses his normal base attack bonus.
At 8th level, the monk can make two additional attacks when he uses flurry of blows, as if using Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).
At 15th level, the monk can make three additional attacks using flurry of blows, as if using Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).
A monk applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with flurry of blows, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands. A monk may substitute disarm, sunder, and trip combat maneuvers for unarmed attacks as part of a flurry of blows. A monk cannot use any weapon other than an unarmed strike or a special monk weapon as part of a flurry of blows. A monk with natural weapons cannot use such weapons as part of a flurry of blows, nor can he make natural attacks in addition to his flurry of blows attacks.
At 1st level, a monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A monk’s attacks may be with fist, elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk may make unarmed strikes with his hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed. A monk may thus apply his full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes.
Usually a monk’s unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but he can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on his attack roll. He has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling.
A monk’s unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.
A monk also deals more damage with his unarmed strikes than a normal person would, as shown above on Table: Monk. The unarmed damage values listed on Table: Monk are for Medium monks. A Small monk deals less damage than the amount given there with his unarmed attacks, while a Large monk deals more damage; see Table: Small or Large Monk Unarmed Damage.
|Level||Damage (Small monk)||Damage (Large monk)|
At 1st level, 2nd level, and every 4 levels thereafter, a monk may select a bonus feat. These feats must be taken from the following list:
At 6th level, the following feats are added to the list:
At 10th level, the following feats are added to the list:
A monk need not have any of the prerequisites normally required for these feats to select them.
Stunning Fist (Ex)
At 1st level, the monk gains Stunning Fist as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. The monk may attempt a stunning attack a number of times per day equal to his monk level, plus one more time per day for every four levels he has in classes other than monk.
At 4th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the monk gains the ability to apply a new condition to the target of his Stunning Fist. This condition replaces stunning the target for 1 round, and a successful saving throw still negates the effect.
At 4th level, he can choose to make the target fatigued.
At 8th level, he can make the target sickened for 1 minute.
At 12th level, he can make the target staggered for 1d6+1 rounds.
At 20th level, he can paralyze the target for 1d6+1 rounds.
The monk must choose which condition will apply before the attack roll is made. These effects do not stack with themselves (a creature sickened by Stunning Fist cannot become nauseated if hit by Stunning Fist again), but additional hits do increase the duration.
At 2nd level or higher, a monk can avoid damage from many area-effect attacks. If a monk makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a monk is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless monk does not gain the benefit of evasion.
Fast Movement (Ex)
At 3rd level, a monk gains an enhancement bonus to his land speed, as shown on Table: monk. A monk in armor or carrying a medium or heavy load loses this extra speed.
Maneuver Training (Ex)
At 3rd level, a monk uses his monk level in place of his base attack bonus when calculating his Combat Maneuver Bonus. Base attack bonuses granted from other classes are unaffected and are added normally.
Still Mind (Ex)
Ki Pool (Su)
At 4th level, a monk gains a pool of ki points, supernatural energy he can use to accomplish amazing feats. The number of points in a monk’s ki pool is equal to 1/2 his monk level + his Wisdom modifier. As long as he has at least 1 point in his ki pool, he can make a ki strike.
- At 4th level, ki strike allows his unarmed attacks to be treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
- At 7th level, his unarmed attacks are also treated as cold iron and silver for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
- At 10th level, his unarmed attacks are also treated as lawful weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
- At 16th level, his unarmed attacks are treated as adamantine weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction and bypassing hardness.
By spending 1 point from his ki pool, a monk can do one of the following:
- Make one additional attack at his highest attack bonus when making a flurry of blows attack, or
- Increase his speed by 20 feet for 1 round, or
- Give himself a +4 dodge bonus to AC for 1 round.
Each of these powers is activated as a swift action.
The ki pool is replenished each morning after 8 hours of rest or meditation; these hours do not need to be consecutive.
Slow Fall (Ex)
At 4th level or higher, a monk within arm’s reach of a wall can use it to slow his descent. When first gaining this ability, he takes damage as if the fall were 20 feet shorter than it actually is. The monk’s ability to slow his fall (that is, to reduce the effective distance of the fall when next to a wall) improves with his monk level until at 20th level he can use a nearby wall to slow his descent and fall any distance without harm.
High Jump (Ex)
At 5th level, a monk adds his level to all Acrobatics checks made to jump, both for vertical jumps and horizontal jumps. In addition, he always counts as having a running start when making jump checks using Acrobatics. By spending 1 point from his ki pool as a swift action, a monk gains a +20 bonus on Acrobatics checks made to jump for 1 round.
Purity of Body (Ex)
Wholeness of Body (Su)
Improved Evasion (Ex)
At 9th level, a monk’s evasion ability improves. He still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but henceforth he takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless monk does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.
Diamond Body (Su)
At 11th level, a monk gains immunity to poisons of all kinds.
Abundant Step (Su)
At 12th level or higher, a monk can slip magically between spaces, as if using the spell dimension door. Using this ability is a move action that consumes 2 points from his ki pool. His caster level for this effect is equal to his monk level. He cannot take other creatures with him when he uses this ability.
Diamond Soul (Ex)
At 13th level, a monk gains spell resistance equal to his current monk level + 10. In order to affect the monk with a spell, a spellcaster must get a result on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) that equals or exceeds the monk’s spell resistance.
Quivering Palm (Su)
Starting at 15th level, a monk can set up vibrations within the body of another creature that can thereafter be fatal if the monk so desires. He can use this quivering palm attack once per day, and he must announce his intent before making his attack roll. Creatures immune to critical hits cannot be affected. Otherwise, if the monk strikes successfully and the target takes damage from the blow, the quivering palm attack succeeds. Thereafter, the monk can try to slay the victim at any later time, as long as the attempt is made within a number of days equal to his monk level. To make such an attempt, the monk merely wills the target to die (a free action), and unless the target makes a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 the monk’s level + the monk’s Wis modifier), it dies. If the saving throw is successful, the target is no longer in danger from that particular quivering palm attack, but it may still be affected by another one at a later time. A monk can have no more than 1 quivering palm in effect at one time. If a monk uses quivering palm while another is still in effect, the previous effect is negated.
Timeless Body (Ex)
At 17th level, a monk no longer takes penalties to his ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that he has already taken, however, remain in place. Age bonuses still accrue, and the monk still dies of old age when his time is up.
Tongue of the Sun and Moon (Ex)
A monk of 17th level or higher can speak with any living creature.
Empty Body (Su)
At 19th level, a monk gains the ability to assume an ethereal state for 1 minute as though using the spell etherealness. Using this ability is a move action that consumes 3 points from his ki pool. This ability only affects the monk and cannot be used to make other creatures ethereal.
At 20th level, a monk becomes a magical creature. He is forevermore treated as an outsider rather than as a humanoid (or whatever the monk’s creature type was) for the purpose of spells and magical effects. Additionally, the monk gains damage reduction 10/chaotic, which allows him to ignore the first 10 points of damage from any attack made by a nonchaotic weapon or by any natural attack made by a creature that doesn’t have similar damage reduction. Unlike other outsiders, the monk can still be brought back from the dead as if he were a member of his previous creature type.
A monk who becomes nonlawful cannot gain new levels as a monk but retains all monk abilities.
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have fighters as their favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.
|Dwarf||Reduce the Hardness of any object made of clay, stone, or metal by 1 whenever the object is struck by the monk’s unarmed strike (minimum of 0).||ARG|
|Elf||Add +1 to the monk’s base speed. In combat this option has no effect unless the monk has selected it five times (or another increment of five). This bonus stacks with the monk’s fast movement class feature and applies under the same conditions as that feature.||ARG|
|Gnome||Add +1 to the monk’s Acrobatics check bonus gained by spending a ki pool point. A monk must be at least 5th level to select this benefit.||ARG|
|Half-Elf||Add +½ on Escape Artist checks and on Acrobatics checks to cross narrow surfaces.||ARG|
|Half-Orc||Add +1 to the monk’s CMD when resisting a grapple and +½ to the number of stunning attack attempts per day.||ARG|
|Halfling||Add +1 to the monk’s CMD when resisting a grapple and +½ to the number of stunning attack attempts per day.||APG|
|Human||Add +¼ point to the monk‘s ki pool.||APG|
|Hobgoblin||Add a +¼ bonus on combat maneuver checks made to grapple or trip.||ARG|
|Kobold||Add +⅓ to the monk’s AC bonus class ability.||ARG|
|Nagaji||Add +¼ point to the monk‘s ki pool.||ARG|
|Oread||Add +⅓ on critical hit confirmation rolls made with unarmed strikes (maximum bonus of +5). This bonus does not stack with Critical Focus.||ARG|
|Ratfolk||Add +1 feet to the speed the monk can move while making a Stealth check without taking a penalty. This has no effect unless the monk has selected this reward five times (or another increment of five). This does not allow the monk to use Stealth while running or charging.||ARG|
|Samsaran||Add a +½ bonus on the monk’s saving throws to resist death attacks.||ARG|
|Strix||Add +¼ point to the monk‘s ki pool.||ARG|
|Suli||Add +½ point of damage to elemental assault.||ARG|
|Tengu||Add +¼ point to the monk‘s ki pool.||ARG|
|Undine||Add +1 to the monk’s CMD when resisting a grapple and +⅓ to the number of stunning attack attempts per day.||ARG|
|Vanara||Add a +1 bonus on Acrobatics checks made to jump.||ARG|
|3rd Party Publishers|
|Jon Brazer Enterprises|
|Android||Add +1/3 to the monk’s initiative when the monk is not holding anything in his hands (maximum bonus of +5). This bonus does not stack with Improved Initiative.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Catfolk||Add +5 feet to the distance by which fall damage is reduced when the monk uses the slow fall ability. This bonus cannot improve the total amount of the monk’s slow fall distance reduction by more than 1.5 times its normal granted distance (ex. 30 feet maximum reduced at 4th level, up to 135 feet maximum at 18th level).||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Changeling||The monk gains +1/6 of a new ninja trick.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Dhampir||Add +¼ to the damage of an unarmed strike.||JBE:BoHRC|
|Drow||Add +1 to the monk’s CMD when resisting a dirty trick and +½ to the number of stunning attacks he can attempt per day.||JBE:BoHRC|
|Duergar||Reduce the Hardness of any object made of clay, stone, or metal by 1 whenever the object is struck by the monk’s unarmed strike (minimum of 0).||JBE:BoHRC|
|Fetchling||Add +¼ point to the monk’s ki pool.||JBE:BoHRC|
|Orc||Add +1 to the monk’s CMD when resisting a grapple and +½ to the number of stunning attacks he can attempt per day.||JBE:BoHRC|
|Tiefling||Add +¼ to the number of times per day the monk can use Stunning Fist.||JBE:BoHRC|
|Wayang||Add a +⅙ bonus to the DC of a Stunning Fist attempt.||JBE:BoHRC|
|Rogue Genius Games|
|Asterions||+⅓ to CMD. (+1 to CMD for every three times you select this option.)||RGG:HHO|
When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.
A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.
Monks are martial mystics. Through mediation and discipline, and sometimes by way of secrets passed down for generations within a monastery, a monk progresses toward his perfect self—along the way turning his body into an astonishing fighting machine. But though some masters would lead their students to think otherwise, the path toward the perfect self isn’t set. Different monks confront the road to enlightenment in different ways, and sometimes even with different goals, from harmony with the universe to physical perfection and immortality.
The themes and alternate class features presented below introduce not only variations in fighting techniques, but alternate philosophies for monks seeking perfection.
Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.