At the request of a reader, this article in the History of the Monk offers an overview of the monk-friendly prestige classes of 3.x D&D. In the interest of keeping this manageable, I’m really only addressing 3.5; just about everything from 3.0 was updated at some point, and I don’t think the rules tweaks that got them there are going to be interesting enough for my time or yours. These are in no particular order, except maybe some semblance of publication order.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven

 

The Shadowdancer

The Shadowdancer was, to me, one of those classes that is cinematic and exciting, but it’s not at all obvious which core classes feed into it. It doesn’t grant any of the critical damage-increasing mechanics for rogues or monks, it’s a sharp tonal shift for anyone who got this far as a ranger, and while its skills scream “bard,” its features don’t boost a bard’s melee capabilities nearly enough to sell it or make up for the absence of spell progression.

  • The skill requirements are steep, and many classes are looking down the barrel of cross-class skill ranks for something. Of the Player’s Handbook classes, bards, monks, and rogues can all get there without going cross-class. The earliest that anyone can enter this class is 8th level, since you need a pre-existing 10 ranks in Hide, and given the feat requirements, you need to either be a human or pick up one or more of those feats from a class’s bonus/virtual feats. The monk, for instance, can choose Combat Reflexes as a bonus feat at 2nd level, and this class is one reason you might choose Combat Reflexes over Deflect Arrows.
    • If you’re thinking to yourself, holy cow that is a lot of pre-planning that I need to put into my build (or else have a DM who is way more relaxed about respending build choices than the books recommend), then you’re right. That is one of the great truths of prestige classes: they are the bane of organic character building.
  • 6 + Int skill points per level and a broad, roguish skill list.
  • d8 Hit Dice. Better than the rogue or bard, on par with the monk.
  • Weapon and armor proficiency are rogue-oriented, and if you’re a monk, this is just wasted page space.
  • Hide in Plain Sight is the foundational Shadowdancer feature: even while you’re being watched and have no cover or concealment of your own, you can blend into a shadow up to 10 feet away. (But not the character’s own shadow.)
  • Evasion is here for characters that didn’t take the monk or rogue paths.
  • Darkvision is here for some obvious reasons, but should probably have come one level earlier. (As a reminder, darkvision was comparatively rarer in 3.x, and its lesser cousin Low-Light Vision was more common.)
  • Uncanny Dodge is likewise here for people who didn’t come through rogue… or barbarian, but I’m going to say that’s a pretty small set. Fortunately for rogues, this gets kicked up to Improved Uncanny Dodge if you already have the lesser version, and Improved Uncanny Dodge has a level-scaling benefit.
  • Shadow Illusion grants silent image once per day. Um, woo? As with most illusions, it depends on your ability to be creative and your DM’s adjudication style.
  • Summon Shadow creates a flanking buddy. One without a ton of hit points, but I guess any damage spent on the shadow is damage not spent on the Shadowdancer. The XP hit (200 XP per Shadowdancer level, save for half) when your shadow dies – and loss of this feature for 30 days – is wildly unnecessary.
  • Shadow Jump is probably the feature that you thought you were getting when you read the class name – a bunch of in-combat teleports from shadow to shadow. Dimension door’s restriction that you cannot take any action on your turn after completing its transit is disappointing here, but since 3.x is overall way lighter on combat teleportation than 4e or 5e, this is still a pretty great feature.
    • From the monk’s perspective, this signature feature competes with Abundant Step, arriving one level earlier, having a lot more flexibility in daily usage, having much more demanding usage prerequisities (shadows, that is), and a much shorter maximum range. It’s kind of a wash.
  • Defensive Roll is a lift of a high-level rogue’s special ability. It’s not one of the very most in-demand of the special abilities, but it’s fine.
  • Improved Uncanny Dodge… because of all the same reasons I listed for its precursor.
  • Slippery Mind is another rogue special ability, particularly welcome for monks since taking this prestige class means ditching all of the core monk’s other high-level defensive features.
  • Improved Evasion does its thing, as the prestige class’s top-end feature.

So yeah, this prestige class is all about mobility and defenses, with a huge cost in offensive ability for literally any base class. Personally, I think Shadow Jump should be offered as a rogue special and an optional monk feature, maybe as the more ninja-like alternative to Abundant Step. In short, I am not sure the Shadowdancer is a good choice for any class, and certainly not the monk or rogue. It’s the only decent fit for monks in the whole of the 3.5 DMG, though. (Okay, I guess you could do a monk/assassin somehow to build a ninja’s ninja, but I’ve already covered the 3.5 assassin in way more depth elsewhere.)

 

Drunken Master

This prestige class comes from Complete Warrior, and it’s about as good-faith an effort to present “the Jackie Chan one” as I could ask for. If you’ve been reading my work here on Tribality for at least the last several months, you may recall that I had some not-entirely­-complimentary things to say about the presentation of Drunken Masters in D&D. Well, this… is a lot less bad than I had remembered. It’s Jackie Chan action comedy, all right.

  • d8 HD.
  • Very reasonable skill requirements. You could enter as early as 6th Three feat requirements, one of which is intrinsic to literally all monks ever (Improved Unarmed Strike).
  • 4 + Int skill points per level, in what is mostly the standard monk list, plus Bluff.
  • The Drunken Master has special dispensation to ignore the monk multiclassing restrictions. You can intersperse monk and Drunken Master advancement freely.
  • Drink Like a Demon is the core Drunken Master feature, consuming alcohol to turn Int and Wis into Str or Con, 2 points at a time. Deep-sixing your Wis is, er, something of a sucker bet for monks. Also a nightmare of on-the-fly stat recalculation, which only gets worse as you go.
  • Improvised Weapons is the beginning of the much more Jackie Chan-like thread in the class. This first feature just negates attack roll penalties and adds a 1d4 damage kicker to improvised weapons. This essentially replaces the damage scaling you’re missing out on by leaving the monk class.
  • Stagger lets you charge in not-a-straight-line and incorporate a Tumble check to avoid opportunity attacks as part of that charge.
  • Swaying Waist gives you a secondary Dodge target, against whom you receive a +2 AC.
    • For those who don’t speak 3.x, the Dodge feat lets you declare that you’re especially avoiding a specified enemy, and you gain a +1 AC against that enemy until the start of your next turn. It was tedious and piddly shit in actual use.
  • AC Bonus means you’re not completely cut out of the defensive scaling of being a monk.
  • Improved Improvised Weapons increases your damage kicker and lets you get a benefit from the type of improvised weapon you’re using, such as ladder granting reach. This is also the point at which the class turns decisively in the direction of weapon stunts and controlling enemies, in a way the core monk class does very differently.
  • Greater Improvised Weapons further boosts you damage kicker with improvised weapons.
  • Improved Feint and Improved Grapple come along as bonus feats in consecutive levels. Pretty sure they’re still inspired directly by the same Jackie Chan clip (or, you know, his whole oeuvre).
  • For Medicinal Purposes lets you convert incoming alcohol or alcohol already in your system to potions of cure moderate wounds, up to 3/day. Saves a lot of money compared to buying potions, but a long time to wait for (effectively) three 2nd-level spell effects. It’s a big step up from Wholeness of Body, which of course you don’t have if you jumped on the Drunken Master train (don’t drink and conduct trains, y’all; this metaphor has some problems) as early as possible.
  • Corkscrew Rush is a variant charge that trades the risk of falling prone at the end for the possibility of a bull rush and stunning the target. Giving monks super-good charge attacks – you know, like flying kicks or headbutts or whatever – is just a good start, considering how much effectiveness they lose by moving more than 5 ft. in a round.
  • Superior Improvised Weapons, mirabile dictu, increases your damage kicker with improvised weapons.
  • Breath of Flame converts alcohol in the Drunken Master’s body into a 3d12 fire breath weapon. As a free action. Drinking is a move action, though, so you really need to get tanked before the fight – any move actions you’re spending drinking are not full-round actions spent making all of your iterative attacks.

Overall, this class is kind of doing two barely-related things: alcohol magic and action comedy. I’m way more interested in the latter than the former, because ha ha, yer dude is drunk 26 hours a day is not a joke or character note that stays interesting for ten levels of play to me. All told, though, I don’t hate this, I’m just leery of its premise in the hands of some players. For the most part, you’re probably better off in terms of overall power if you stick with monk, but I’d have to do a lot of math to feel confident of that, and… I’m not gonna. I also just want to emphasize what a mess round-by-round ability score tradeoffs are.

 

Tattooed Monk

The Tattooed Monk is, for the most part, a monk who wasn’t getting enough weird abilities from their class, and decided that the solution was to chase an a la carte collection of supernatural and spell-like abilities, all stored in tattoos. The flavor text talks about this order being more rural or wild than others, and divided between worldly and ascetic monks, while the mechanics present something more about beast, plant, and landscape tattoos as a source of power. The much less disciplined, monastic tone is a lot cooler to me – I mean, I’ve watched Moana, and this is a perfectly good presentation for Maui sans fishhook. (The Tattooed Monk does not require ranks in Swim.)

  • d8 Hit Die.
  • Easily attainable prereqs, though the 8 ranks in Religion is probably a waste in the eyes of most monks. It certainly doesn’t factor into the class in any visible way. Two of the three feats are bonus feats for monks. 6th level is the earliest you can take this prestige class.
  • 4 + Int skill points, from a pretty typical monk skill list.
  • Some of your monk abilities – specifically unarmed damage, AC bonus, and speed bonus – all progress as if this were still the monk class.
  • At every odd-numbered level, you gain a new tattoo, so that’s five over the course of this 10-level class. You don’t gain any new feature at 10th level, which I think we would now call a blatant design flaw. There are a total of 30 tattoos offered in the writeup, and I’m not going to cover them all here – just a few highlights. Oh, and when tattoos need a scaling value (such as uses per day), it’s often equal to the number of tattoos you currently possess from this class.
    • Arrowroot and Nightingale both grant healing, but Arrowroot grants more healing that is others-only, while Nightingale grants a version of Wholeness of Body that only scales by Tattooed Monk levels, and can be used on oneself or others.
    • There are a whole series of ability-score boosting tattoos – Bamboo, Bat, Bellflower, and Butterfly. The gaps here are sort of odd, but Bellflower can boost any ability score… by a value equal to your Cha modifier. Because that’s something monks are likely to have a good score in.
    • A whole lot of these amount to a grab-bag of possible features and tricks up your sleeve, the kinds of things that might very reasonably show up if monks got “monk special abilities” at 10th level and above the way rogues get “rogue special abilities.” There are a lot of oddities in how these abilities scale by Tattooed Monk level, and thus stop scaling when you reach 15th level… just when the 3.x metagame is really blowing up.
  • As with the Drunken Master, you receive special dispensation to keep picking up monk levels. The only thing that makes this weird is that you can wind up with overlapping abilities such that neither of them scale up sufficiently, like their respective Spell Resistance features.

The Tattooed Monk is a great showcase of what the monk could be, but it’s stored in the awkwardness of a prestige class, and there are a lot of filler options that are minor-to-modest bonuses to this or that – enough to write down on your character sheet, probably not enough to feel like you’re actually great at that thing. I dunno, I’ve become quite enchanted with 5e’s far less mathy style. I can’t fully engage with 3.x on its own terms anymore.

 

Sacred Fist

This class requires you to have some amount of spellcasting, but really wants you to have a bunch of monk levels also. Its concept is “I rely on nothing but divine spells and unarmed attacks,” but it doesn’t allow you to keep picking up monk levels – and even more than that, you get locked out of this class if you take anything other than Sacred Fist levels, once you gain your first level in this prestige class. In short, 3.5 got way too wrapped up in No You May Not as a substitute for actual theme. That fault doesn’t belong to any one designer, of course. (Unless you have insider knowledge and want to spill.)

  • d8 Hit Dice, as befits both clerics and monks.
  • Interestingly, +1/1 BAB, better than either clerics or monks.
  • 4+ Int skill points, from a slightly stripped-down monk-like skill list.
  • Qualifications are fairly attainable; the most annoying requirement is probably the +4 BAB, since you kind of want to lowball either monk or cleric and spend the rest of your prerequisite levels on the other one. In all, I think you’ll wind up needing cleric 2/monk 4 or monk 2/cleric 4, or you’ll need to splash paladin rather than monk. (Don’t do that, it totally sacks the throughput of all those “+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class” bumps you get.)
  • The Sacred Fist keeps gaining unarmed damage as a monk, gains +3 AC and +30 ft speed over 10 levels roughly like a monk, and gains 8 divine spellcaster levels presumably like a cleric.
  • Sacred Flames lets you set your fists on fire (in that magical, not-hurting-you way) once per day (twice at 8th level). This adds your Sacred Fist class level and your Wisdom modifier to your unarmed strike damage, so reasonably we’re looking at +8 or so when you first gain this feature, eventually climbing toward +16 or so at Sacred Fist 10. The standard action that it takes to activate looks a lot more reasonable once you consider that we’re talking about 3-5 attacks in a round.
  • Blindsense lets you sense vibrations and whatnot out to 10 feet. Not super sure why this is here and not, say, in the monk class, but whatever.
  • Inner Armor is a serious but short term self-only defensive buff. +4 to AC, +4 to all saves, and Spell Resistance 25 is not a joke, assuming you’ve otherwise done your due diligence in getting good bracers of armor.
  • The Code of Conduct obligates the Sacred Fist to never use any kind of weapon save unarmed attacks, and to follow the prestige class’s strict multiclassing rules. Once you finish the class, I guess you’re either going back to cleric or looking for another prestige class, since you can’t go back to monk.

The Sacred Fist is one of the many prestige classes in 3.5 that sets out to resolve the problems in a particular multiclassing pair – Eldritch Knight, Mystic Theurge, and Arcane Trickster are some of the better-known examples of the same goal. It has far fewer Special Features and a lot more “progress as both Class A and Class B” going on, which you’re presumably fine with if you signed on in the first place. The spellcasting and melee combat abilities don’t need any more help to synergize – we’re talking about 3.5 here, so a cleric willing to self-buff is an unstoppable engine of destruction already. What’s that you say, you also spent a round getting Sacred Flames up and running? Well, yeah, that’s pretty boss.

Thematically, trying to fold the monk back into the ranks of ordained clergy by making them flashy asskicking clerics is a little weird to me. It’s a nod back to 2e priestly monks, admittedly.

 

Conclusion

This list of monk-friendly prestige classes is far from exhaustive, and I’ve completely ignored anything Pathfinder has done in this space, but thank goodness I finally got, what, sixteen years of irritation with the Shadowdancer off my chest. Seriously, for anyone who LARPs with me, it’s obviously one of my favorite character concepts, but that prestige class is juuuust about useless. There aren’t many monk-friendly prestige classes overall. Dipping my toe (reluctantly) into the waters of 3.5 monk character optimization, it looks like the community consensus on the best monk options are to weld together a bunch of other classes and prestige classes to get a better outcome.

I’m obscurely pleased to see that two of the four prestige classes in this article are already well-supported by monastic traditions in official releases – the Way of Shadow and the Way of the Sun Soul. (There was an actual Sun Soul prestige class in City of Splendors: Waterdeep, but I’m not covering it today except to say that it’s super close to just being a Way of the Four Elements monk who only buys fire disciplines, so I’ll consider that concept covered in two different ways.) The Drunken Master has seen UA support, even if we don’t yet know whether to look for it in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. That leaves only the Tattooed Monk, which… is close enough to the beast-themed monastic tradition I’m still working on that I’m thrilled WotC hasn’t covered it yet!

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  • Syd Andrews

    Monks and 3.x Prestige Classes, amirite?!?!

    I played a lot of 3.x; a LOT! It came along at a time in my life where I had lots of time and a group of like-minded friends that wanted to play D&D any chance they got. And I felt that 3.x was an amazing “reboot” of the whole D&D thing that finally got it on track and focused in a way that 1e/2e never did.

    And the whole idea of prestige classes was just AMAZING to me. It seemed like an awesome way to progress a character into a specialized concept at higher levels. And this would allow higher level classes from having that whole “sameness” feel that previous editions got. I mean, anyone could say that their 12th level character was different, but in reality, it was only different in clothing and equipment. The mechanical abilities were the same lot as every other 12th level character of that class.

    That being said, in reality, I found that (at least in my group) the concept of Prestige Classes weren’t something that were options from which one could choose as a character gained levels. They were a target towards which the players would aim, starting with their level 1 class and feat choices. I had felt that a prestige class was something that was achieved around 9th or 10th level. Instead, so many players would be planning to take their 1st level of PrC at 7th (or sometimes 6th) character level. So yeah, not very organically grown…

    As much as I loved 3.x, one of the big issues I have with that system is that it seems that when playing a character, one typically has to choose between either a narrow “optimal” build, or spread around resources (skill points and feats and multiclass choices) and play a “fun” character. More than once, as a DM, I had a group of characters at my table who ranged between the “uber-focused optimiser” and the “pot pourri concept”. And that makes for difficult combat encounter design.

    But I am not intending to share (once again) my personal feelings about the various edition strengths and weaknesses. I’m here to talk about my experience with Monk PrC’s in 3.x!

    One of the first 3.x games I played (not DM’d), one of the players went straight up the Monk class. No PrC choices. Although, he ended up leaving the campaign around 10th level due to inter-player disputes (that’s an unfortunate story). It was a good experience of what the class could do all on its own. In a later campaign that I played in, my friend played a Monk and went the path of the Tattooed Monk for his PrC. The problem with that, however, was that he had taken a vow of Pacifism (I believe it was from the Book of Divine Goodness or whatever the counterpart to the Vile Darkness book was). So he could only do non-lethal damage with his attacks and powers. So I don’t know if I got a good look at what that PrC could do. And then, I did run a one-off adventure wherein that same player built a Drunken Master (I think we built at Level 12). Given that it was a “disposable campaign”, I think that ramped up the “goofiness” in how the character was played.

    So overall, I agree that there wasn’t a great deal of solid PrC support in 3.x for the Monk. It is almost as if the designers didn’t have a good concept of what the Monk was in the first place and so didn’t know where to go with it.

    The other thing I’ll add is that it never occurred to me to use Shadow Dancer as a possible direction for the Monk in 3.x. That ALWAYS seemed like an obvious Rogue PrC to me. And I did have one player go that route in a Level 1-20 campaign that I ran. Or at least for a few levels. He made a bee-line for the Shadow Dancer PrC, took a few levels (only 2 or 3, I think), and then he went into a Legendary Class (from the Legends & Lairs series of books), which I believe gave him advancement in a previous class, similar to the +1 spellcasting class that some of the Arcane and Divine PrC’s had, but for Rogues.

    Anyway, my point is that though mechanically, the Shadow Dancer does, sort of, follow from the skills and abilities in which a Monk progresses, that particular PrC never felt like it was something a Monk would go for or do. But I think this leads back into the idea of the “flavour” of a class. And the Monk (as you’ve shown) has suffered a sort of identity crisis over the editions, never really having a clear definition.

    Overall, I enjoyed this article, especially as it took me down a bit of “memory lane” to some campaigns from over a decade ago.

  • Shane

    I blinked when I read this part:

    “The earliest that anyone can enter this class is 8th level, since you need a pre-existing 10 ranks in Hide, and given the feat requirements, you need to either be a human or pick up one or more of those feats from a class’s bonus/virtual feats.”

    That doesn’t seem right. Assuming you have the required skills as class skills, you can get 10 ranks in Hide at 7th level. Likewise, getting three feats (Combat Reflexes, Dodge, and Mobility) isn’t out-of-bounds for anyone; you can just take them as your 1st, 3rd, and 6th level feats. Sure, that means you need to be planning for taking this PrC from character creation, but it’s not at all as difficult as it’s being made to sound here.

    • It isn’t about the feats, it’s about the skill ranks. You buy your 10th rank at 7th level and your first Shadowdancer level at 8th.

  • Brandes, I am disappointed in you. The 3.5 Tattooed Monk is directly inspired by (stolen from?) the Dragon Clan Togashi Tattooed Monk of Legends of the Five Rings.

    Now, I love the idea of the L5R Togashi monk but they do not play well with the quirks of the D&D 3.5 system, being design for a different, quirky system.

    • You know, I had another friend point out the unplumbed abyss of my ignorance over in a G+ thread. =) I know that this will scandalize you, but my working knowledge of L5R and Rokugan is dreadful thin. Thanks for sharing the background!

    • I know we had talked L5R on occasional. I would have though the Togashi Order would have stuck out. Anyway, more of a tease than anything else. I hope you did not take it seriously.

    • I took it in the friendly manner intended. We’re good. =)

    • Charles Geringer

      Actually considering the official setting for D20 orientala dventures is rokugan, it is neither inpired nor stolen, but a straight-up official adaptation.

    • Except that OA and 3e Rokugan are 3.0 content, while the Complete Warrior, which I was working from, is 3.5e and doesn’t mention Rokugan or its story elements at all.

    • Charles Geringer

      I udnerstand why it wasn´t mentioned, it is just that Sean´s phrasing implied something a bit unethical, and that was not the case. In fact there were alot of oficial supoplements for D20 rokugan, and some of them are quite good.

    • Not unethical but certainly completely influenced by. Magical tattoos are not the invention of L5R after all.

    • Charles Geringer

      Sorry I misundertood your “stolen” comment.

      my bad

    • No worries. As we know, text does not convey tone very well.

  • Charles Geringer

    I can´t help but feel this last part does not properly adress The monk classes in the context of D20 Oriental adventures.

    please keep in mind D20 orientala dventures was one fo the first supplements avliable, and I THINK the first to really explore the monk in D20 in a settign where they are integral to the flavor, as opoosed to an add on because “martial arts are cool”

    The tatooed monk “A la carte” apprach helps it work really well with samurai and shugenja classes, as well as making it easily expandable, in suplements by adding tatoos to the tatoo list. It is one of the few monk-based prestige classes that offer real value for non-monk players and still has a lore that encourages multi-class charcters.

    The Henshin Mystic has what is IMO the best merging of flavour and mechanics for the concept of monk as “Using martial arts as a path to enlightment”, expressed by a nice mix of combat and awareness abilities.

    the shintao monk, is IMO the weakest of the 3, but it does capture well the idea of the monk who whas as his main objective makign the world a better place and smiting evil.

    • You’re absolutely right that I’m not addressing the monk in the context of the 3.0 Oriental Adventures. I have made zero effort to do so at all up to this point. It could certainly be a separate article, though!

  • Mikey Kromhout

    The sad part is if you are not sure whether you are better off in the prc or the monk class then it is pretty bad. 3e monk is sadly not very good so you really want to take something that makes you better. More often than not that involves using psionics (along with Ebberon) and weapon size shenanigans (boosting the effective damage size for your fists is the best way to improve your damage).

    Oddly later in 3e they ended up doing less prcs to improve your monk and started doing feats that did combo classes. Things like Tashalatora (Secrets of Sarlona) allowed you to combine one psionic class with your monk levels to improve various monk abilities. That worked a lot better though it still was a patch.

    • Right, that’s exactly what I learned as I dug into the optimization, and frankly it matches my own very limited 3.x experience with monks (from behind the screen) quite well – they might be great and untouchable at high levels, but they’re fragile and underwhelming at low levels. You know, the same problem monks had in every edition before 3.x as well. To that end – as you undoubtedly saw earlier in this series – I am not too shy about recommending that even groups that stick to 3.5 take a serious look at the PF Unchained Monk and file off just enough serial numbers to make it work within their rules.

      Late-stage development of every edition – as apparent in 2e, 3.5, and 4e – always gets real weird and hacky, as the designers have found the problems and want to provide fixes, but their fixes are still fundamentally constrained by the architecture. Which is how new editions are born. (This has been Game Design Sex Ed 101.)

  • Wyvern

    There was also a Dragon magazine article with three monk-friendly prestige classes:
    – the Poison Fist is exactly what it sounds like; it also comes with the ability to polymorph into either a snake, scorpion, or spider (chosen when you take the class).
    – the Weightless Foot lets you play a character straight out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
    – the Ghost-Faced Killer, apparently inspired by some kung-fu movie I know nothing about, is another flavor of assassin whose most unique feature is the ability to become incorporeal for limited periods.

    If you’re interested in seeing them for yourself, I found a PDF that someone posted online which compiles a whole bunch of prestige classes from Dragon magazine. I won’t post a link, because the last couple of times I tried that here my post got eaten, but you can find it yourself by Googling “”prestige classes from dragon magazine”.

    • Drow

      Ghost-Faced Killer was later adapted into the Complete Adventurer book, as well.

  • Sporelord0179

    Things like this remind me why I’m so glad 5E has left prestige classes in the rear-view mirror.

    • I found the UA article on Rune Magic something of a mixed bag, but I’m primarily in agreement with you here. I think there might be some configuration of entry prereqs and features granted that could serve 5e’s needs, but I’m not sure what those are at this point. Certainly the prestige classes in this article and their interaction with the monk class don’t make any compelling argument for adding them.

  • Drow

    I was surprised to see only four PrCs covered, but…yeah, this is a pretty nice cross section. Never occurred to me to think of Shadowdancers as a monk-possible PrC, but I can sympathize with the need to vent (why couldn’t their mechanics back up how cool their fluff was? Even Tome of Magic tried to play them up!). The only other ones I can think of are pretty much under the Sacred Fist’s thing of “Monk/(Other) features combined, with a new ability or two.” As I remember…

    Enlightened Fist (Monk/Arcane Caster), from Complete Arcane
    Zerth Cenobite (Monk/Psion), from…either EPH or Complete Psionic
    Fist of the Forest (Monk/Barbarian), from Complete Champion
    Disciple of the World (Monk/Truenamer, of all things), from Tome of Magic

    May have been more, but I honestly can’t remember. There were also those feats in Complete Scoundrel combining Monks with other classes, in retrospect a preview of 4e’s multiclass feats.

    • Four prestige classes already made it a long article. Covering all of them in this level of detail was way out of reach in my available writing time. 🙂

  • Cuix

    “it looks like the community consensus on the best monk options are to weld together a bunch of other classes and prestige classes to get a better outcome”

    Yup, that’s about the long and short of it. You’re almost always better off using Tome of Battle options to get your monk to work. More powerful, more flavorful, more mechanically interesting. It’s such a shame. Hell, even trying to use skill tricks from Complete Scoundrel doesn’t work, because monks get shafted on skill points (they already need to be maxing Tumble in most cases).

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