One of the most dynamic and fun fighting classes in Dungeons & Dragons is the monk, who channels his ki into quick martial arts strikes and mystical abilities. Player’s manual introduces three Monk subclasses, each with its own flavor and mechanics, and subsequent books have provided even more options for players to explore. Unfortunately, while the class is generally excellent, one of its subclasses is among the weakest of all. D&D.
Each type of monk follows a monastic tradition that reflects his training, skills and philosophical vision. Sadly, those who follow the Path of the Four Elements are a colossal disappointment, being widely regarded as one of the most unnecessary subclasses. This is particularly disappointing as they could theoretically have been the coolest type of monk in the game. However, looking at what went wrong about this class, it might be possible to fix the monks of the four elements for help them reach their full potential.
What is a way of the monk of the four elements?
While most classes of D&D are based on European history and folklore, the monks are inspired by Chinese wuxie stories and Shaolin kung fu. All monks have a certain number of Ki points that they use to perform different abilities. The 5th subclasses developed them by creating different archetypes that players could build on. Of all the options, The Four Elements Path is potentially the most interesting, allowing the character to tap into the elements using their ki.
At the third level, they gain two elemental disciplines, which are elemental magical powers. They can choose one of them from a list of options. The other, Elemental Harmonization, gives them the ability to create a variety of harmless effects. Some examples include creating a misty fog, lighting or extinguishing a flame no larger than a small campfire, and changing the shape of one of the elements (as long as that element can fit in a one foot cube).
There are seven other options to choose from at the third level, and using any of them costs a certain amount of Ki points. Most elemental disciplines are just wuxia-flavored spells, with notable examples like Sweeping Cinder Strike (the Burning Hands spell), Rush of the Gale Spirits (Gust of Wind), and Fist of the Four Thunders (Thunderwave). Some disciplines are unique, like Water Whip, which can be used to strike an opponent within 30 feet of the monk, dealing 3d10 bludgeoning damage if the target fails their Dexterity check and knocking them down or pulling them 25 feet closer. .
Monks gain additional elementary discipline at the sixth, eleventh, and seventeenth levels. Most first level disciplines cost one or two Ki points, while higher level ones can cost up to six. As they level up, Monks can spend additional Ki Points to recharge their basic elemental disciplines.
Why 5th’s Way of Four Elements Monk is the worst subclass
The Four Elements Path Monks are an incredibly cool concept, allowing players to use both martial arts and elemental attacks. They are frequently compared to Avatar franchise, and the PBH describes them as frequently tattooing themselves to better channel their ki. Sadly, that cool aesthetic doesn’t translate into the mechanics of the subclass.
Elemental harmonization adds flavor, but it’s virtually unnecessary. This basically means that the monks only gain one magic ability at the third level. By comparison, third-level Way of the Shadow monks can use their Ki points to cast one of five different spells, while third-level Way of the Open Hands monks learn three different martial arts techniques to manipulate the body. of an opponent.
At higher levels, this disparity becomes much worse. For example, Monks of the Four Elements can learn the discipline of phoenix flames at the eleventh level, which allows them to cast a Fireball spell that became available to layman spellcasters at the fifth level. It also takes four Ki points to throw Fireball, over a third of what is available to eleventh level monks. Since you have to choose between using an elemental discipline or a standard martial attack, most players will do better to use their ki to increase their martial abilities.
How to improve the way of the monk of the four elements
Boasting such an interesting concept, The Way of the Four Elements Monk is worth trying to save. Choosing the Elemental Adept or Mobility feats may improve it a bit, but not by much. This subclass needs a major overhaul, which requires the development of new house rules.
One of the greatest limitations of the Monk of the Four Elements is how few spells he has. To overcome this, whenever they learn an elementary discipline, let them earn an additional one. In addition to this, the high Ki point cost of these abilities can be overcome by having each discipline “spell” cost a number of Ki points equal to its equivalent spell level. For example, using Flames of the Phoenix to cast Fireball would cost three Ki points, since Fireball is a third-level spell.
It also doesn’t make sense to force the Monks of the Four Elements to choose between a martial arts maneuver and an elemental ability. To resolve this issue, allow them to spend two extra Ki points once per turn to combine an elemental discipline with an unarmed strike or other martial attack. This will help improve both their fighting skills and the character’s overall martial arts flavor, turning them into Avatar-esque masters of the elements they were always meant to be.
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