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Class Feedback (Monk and Rogue)

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  • Class Feedback (Monk and Rogue)

    I have not read through all the PDF, I focused on the classes. First of all, most of them are very well done! I love the Bard But I find the Monk and Rogue lacking. So here is my feedback in more detail:


    The monk is probably the most difficult class to migrate from Pathfinder. I like that you folded the monk's vast array of abilities into powers that you can activate in a Super Powers Companion-like fashion, except with Power Points. But as you notice in your own example character, Sajan has d10 Spirit. But why? Obviously, a monk should have high Spirit, in Pathfinder as well. But the current monk class design does not benefit from Spirit at all. Here is a proposed addition to Unarmed Strike:
    • Unarmed Strike lets you roll Spirit instead of Strength for unarmed damage rolls, and lets you use Spirit instead of Strength as prerequisite for Combat Edges, so that monks can take Brawler and Sweep more easily. Then you could choose to be a Strength or Spirit-based monk.
    • Missing powers:
      • Intangibility (Empty Body)
      • Speak Languages (Tongue of the Sun and Moon)
      • Teleport (Abundant Step)
      • Maybe those powers could be purchasable via an Edge?
    You should also clarify that Unarmed Strikes only work if the character wears no armor, to prevent multi-class abuse.


    If I take the Armor Restriction as a negative and Sneak Attack as a positive, there still seems to be something missing to make this a great choice. What sets the rogue apart in Pathfinder is that they get the largest amount of skills of any class. This is of course not trivial to implement in Savage Worlds, so I propose the following:
    • Rogue Talents: The rogue may use Thievery instead of any attribute or skill requirement for Professional and Social Edges. If an Edge requires multiple attributes or skills, use only the highest one.
    Last edited by Tumola; 03-27-2021, 04:21 PM.

  • #2
    I agree. Right after some of the big points of the magic system, my only real complaint is the Monk class. Bearing in mind that I haven't spent hundreds of hours designing and playtesting this stuff, the problem I see is that the Monk is just a really poor fighter variant.
    1. Spirit doesn't provide any kind of mechanical benefit to the Monk and the Monk can't wear armor. I believe that in the source material, Wisdom (Spirit in this case, I think) and Dexterity (Agility) are what make the monk hard to hit in the absence of armor. Wisdom also fuels some of the PF Monk's offensive abilities. Maybe the benefit of Spirit to the Monk in SWPF could be a 2-for-1 benefit? Like, Spirit can substitute for both Str and Vigor? That way, the armorless/weaponless Monk gets melee damage and Toughness/Soak both based off one attribute instead of two? Also, as the OP said above, let Spirit substitute for Str/Vig in Edge requirements. Get Brawler and Brusier to get both an offensive and defensive boost just for the low, low price of one attribute rather than two.
      • Clearly the "Spirit replaces Strength and Vigor" wouldn't apply when wearing armor or using weapons other than Unarmed Strike.
    2. What about providing the Monk the ability to use her Unarmed Strike damage when doing the crush maneuver in a grapple? If the Monk is the master of unarmed combat, how about letting that extend to grappling as well?
    3. Unarmed damage and bonus to hit: I'm surprised that a dedicated Monk character in SWPF is overall less deadly in melee combat than a generic dedicated unarmed build in Core SWADE. As it stands, Brawler/Bruiser are direct translations from SWADE. The Unarmed Strike class ability for SWPF Monk is a less powerful version of Martial Artist from SWADE (it doesn't give +1 Fighting to hit with unarmed attacks) and there are no Martial Warrior or Chi Edges. Unarmed Strike damage (as far as I can tell) caps out at Str+d8 in SWPF but Str+d10 in SWADE. Since SWPF is pretty high-powered, that seems odd to me. No d10 punch damage and no +2 to hit.
    QUESTION: If I remember correctly, then Clint has stated in the official rules clarifications for SWADE that TM Weapon can't apply to unarmed attacks. What about SWPF? Can TM Weapon apply specifically to a Monk's Unarmed Strike? I think that would go a long way in balancing out considering that Unarmed Strike is also gained alongside Stunning Fist (which is admittedly a pretty rad ability). Accuracy and Parry boost while fighting unarmed makes a lot of sense for a Monk.

    Maybe there are other things that could be done to bring the Monk on par with other fighter types, but those are some starting points. Just my $0.02.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Leatherneck556 View Post
      I agree. Right after some of the big points of the magic system, my only real complaint is the Monk class. Bearing in mind that I haven't spent hundreds of hours designing and playtesting this stuff, the problem I see is that the Monk is just a really poor fighter variant.
      This. All the points made here - including speaking form a standpoint of never designing and playtesting...

      Monk was both the thing I wanted to see the SW conversion for the MOST (it's my favorite class, followed closely by PF Magus) - and the one I knew that was going to be the hardest.

      On a quick aside (and as a joke, this is NOT derision angled at the team's hard work) at least they're following the trend of certain classes being able to things better than the classes that are supposed to excel at!

      Barbarian getting Fast Movement and monk not? I'm cool with that. Monk magical abilities being optional things taken at higher ranks? I'm cool with this.

      I'm even okay that Monks don't have a built-in Frenzy (for Flurry of Blows) - though I was hoping that would be included.

      As they stand... they're sub-par and I see no reason to take the Monk edge over the Fighter.

      ​​So, what I was thinking is - since they They seem to have removed 'Martial Artist' for Monk flavor (like only Barbarians now get a 'Rage' like ability).
      • If this is the case? Give them the FULL benefits of Martial Artist and let them take the Advanced Martial artist.
      • Let the +1 bonus to parry from these feats count as a penalty to ranged attacks targeting the Monk.
        • One of the Monk's staples is that they're supposed to be a beat to hit when unarmored. This reflects that.
        • This would also reflect the classic 'Missile Deflection' style. Yes, Missile Deflection is a FEAT in PF... but it adds to the Monk's ability to get out of harms way.
      • Another option - as listed above - let the Monk use the Higher of certain abilities.
        • Spirit or Agility to tie Fighting to.
        • Spirit or Vigor/Strength to determine feat requirements.
      • I don't necessarily want Spirit to replace Agility or Strength or Spirit as an attribute as a whole (Toughness should still be Vigor, damage still strength) - but but letting feats and skills swap in Spirit as a prerequisite does seem to fit the 'Flavor'.
      But maybe that would make it all too unbalanced.


      • Leatherneck556
        Leatherneck556 commented
        Editing a comment
        Both of these two posts are great. I wish I could "like" Tumola's reply.

        Full benefits of SWADE Martial Artist and Martial Warrior edge (not necessarily both at once), substituting Spirit for Str/Vig to avoid needing 4 really good stats, some way of making ranged attacks miss, like unarmed Parry bonus is also a penalty to ranged attacks, scaling damage with class edge acquisition, or maybe getting AP at times instead of increased damage.

        I could see not using Spirit for Toughness, but maybe using it for soaking. At the end of the day, the durability of the monk's body just kind of is what it is, but the ability to resist serious blows could be sort of mystical. I donno, man.

        I think there is no shortage of good ideas floating around here for making the Monk its own unique, distinct class that's actually worth taking.

      • Accipiter
        Accipiter commented
        Editing a comment
        Tumola - I'm not saying you're wrong, and I fully expect and accept that there's things that won't translate well. I've no doubt your experience in balance in SW far exceeds my very limited knowledge, and so I trust your opinion on this.

        But that aside, I don't get anything 'iconic' from SW:PF monk as written. And no, I don't see 'Stunning Fist' all that great when, at lower ranks, the chances of raises are slim. Especially when doing multiple attacks to try get the feel of 'flurry of blows' means those chances are even less. Ironically... it about as useful as the feat in PF ends up being...

        I'm not expecting to get every feature and flavor of the month in Savage Worlds. But think of what monks are in PF:

        Unarmed Fighting
        * Highest unarmed fighting damage in the game. Hands down. (Heh. Hands.)
        * 120 feet of movement at level 20.
        * Flurry of blows - which they can use with a VERY limited array of weapons, or unarmed
        Hard to hit:
        * Innate AC, using Wisdom to boot
        * Evasion
        * High FORT/REF/WILL saves.

        That's all without needing any magic or equipment. Or even their Ki.

        Then you add in Ki abilities and their innate mystical abilities. Some of which add to the above. THAT'S the Iconic 3.x monk.

        SW:PF gives us a neutered and watered down Martial Artist edge and Stunning Fist... which is situational at best, even if I can use it on every single attack.

        I look at the Barbarian class edge, and I FEEL like I'm raging (though I would like them to be able to rage a full minute). I look at a fighter and I FEEL like I'm a diverse warrior, born on the battlefield, used to adapting to situations.

        I look at the monk and I feel like I'd rather play a fighter...

        I KNOW you're right about how much they can put into a class edge without making it broken, and I respect that. I also totally respect that they they have to try to balance power. I dig the mentality of trying to get the 'feel' of Pathfinder, of the world and the things that make it great, without trying to convert the rules. And I think they succeeded in a lot of places!

        I think with monk, they missed the mark.

        The eternal optimist in me hopes things will be changed before official release. However, I think instead of 'class edges' they should have followed the (IMO) beautiful model they used in Rifts: Iconic class frameworks. That truly gives me the feel of just about ever class/option in the core Rifts books without the rules clutter.

        Only in this case, instead of front-loading, you rank load. Make the iconic edges just natural progressions of the class. Every rank, you get that edge for free. Put in a caveat with Multiclass that you count as a 'Novice' in that 'class', starting at the overall rank you pick it up. You pick Paladin at Seasoned Fighter? Well, you're a Seasoned Fighter/Novice Paladin. When you advance in rank to Veteran, you ger your iconic edge - you pick if you advance in fighter (to Veteran) or in Paladin (to Seasoned).

        If you go Seasoned Pally, well, you get the Iconic Paladin edge automatically. You also still count as a Seasoned fighter. Your overall CHARACTER rank is Veteran, and you can pick any non-iconic edges that you qualify for based on that. Next rank? You can pick again - Veteran in which class, or picking up Novice in a third, while advancing your character rank to Heroic.

        Prestige classes just prettied-up Multiclassing. I'd treat it the same way.

        Once you hit Legendary... well, at that point, you're kind of 'Epic' as they would have considered you in 3.x. I would say 'Class' Advancement would either follow Attribute advancement, or be every 3 to 4 advances.

        Is it more book keeping? Yes. But as a dude starting to run his first SW:Rifts game - those iconic frameworks take a LOT more book keeping, on the front end at least, than the standard SW character.

        Good grief, I got off on a horrid tangent. Sorry.

      • Tumola
        Tumola commented
        Editing a comment
        I agree with you Accipiter that it is most important to convey the class fantasy and the class feeling. I have not read the Rifts book so I can't comment on that, but in SWPF classes are designed around four Edges. That is insufficient to translate all iconic monk abilities from PF. So we have to make some sacrifices.

        * I think we can drop Flurry of Blows. You can buy get the Frenzy Edges or get them with Mystic Powers
        * Fast movement you can also get with Mystic Powers
        * Saves are difficult. I'll skip them for now.
        * You can take the Brawler and Bruiser Edges to be competitive in unarmed melee damage and have additional survivability. +2 Toughness and d8 damage is quite good.

        That leaves strong unarmed attacks and Spirit-based defense. Unfortunately, this does not fit into a single Edge. I actually like Stunning Fist (except the name because it does not stun). Sure you won't get a Raise that often, but it happens frequently.

        The Martial Arts Edge would fit perfectly for the monk, but that is a single Edge and you can't just tag Stunning Fist onto it. I don't have all the answers, but something is missing. But I feel that it isn't much. I really believe Spirit-based unarmed damage instead of Strength could be it.

        You also have to be careful that the first Monk Edge is not too attractive for other classes to take just to get some flat bonuses.

    • #4
      My thoughts:

      1) The monk's unarmed damage is equal to their (Str or Agility die) + Spirit die, and they get +1 to hit on unarmed attacks (like Martial Artist Edge in SWADE).

      2) The Monk's Parry equals their (Agility or Spirit die) + Fighting die /2 (This is compared to most other character types using Agility + Fighting dice/2)

      3) They begin with 1 Mystic Power of their choice. They get the rest of them if/when they take the Mystic Powers Edge.

      4) The Monk's Stunning Strike ability is negated if the target soaks all the damage from the hit, unlike what it says in the book. Stunning Strike has never been an automatic thing on a hit.

      5) Finally, for Rogue's I would give them a few bonus skill points at creation (say +2 or 3 points that may only be spent on Athletics, Common Knowledge, Gambling, Intimidation, Languages, Notice, Persuasion, Stealth, Taunt, and Thievery).


      • Tumola
        Tumola commented
        Editing a comment
        No other characters are calculating their Parry as (Agility + Fighting / 2). That's a bad formula as it scales far to fast.

        3 skill points is equivalent to 1.5 Edges. And that tucked on to a Class Edge that already worth an Edge is overpowered. Skill points in SW are much more powerful than in Pathfinder.

      • Samurai007
        Samurai007 commented
        Editing a comment
        Ok Tumola, upon further thought, I've reduced the Rogue's bonus skill points to +2 instead of +3. Since they are limited to only being spent on select skills, IMHO it's no longer equal to or better than "2 skill points wherever you want".

    • #5
      I’ve always liked monks in D&D/PF and I think that overall PEG did a good job converting them to SW. They just have so many special abilities that they can’t all be included in the class, but the flexibility of SW allows you to build your monk the way you want: Frenzy for flurry of blows, Fleet-Footed and/or Free Runner for the speed increase, etc.
      The only thing I miss is the unarmored defensive bonus and the general tie to spirit. Maybe something like the ability to take a -2 to hit for a round to add 1/2 Sprit to parry.
      I’d also generally like to see Mystic Power (for all the classes that get it) tied to an attribute, so rather than 5 PP they would have 1/2 Spirit +2.


      • Tumola
        Tumola commented
        Editing a comment
        I think the monk is close. There is just a little bit of flavor missing. They lack defense, which can be mitigated by taking the Brawler Edge, but it kind of forces you to take this Edge. And some Spirit synergy. The difficult thing is that you can't make the first Monk Edge too enticing for other classes.