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I've gone through a handful of posts here about the Unchained Monk + Flurry of Blows + the Unchained Action Economy, on Reddit, and on Google results that discuss this scenario, but they all seem to fall short of really explaining it completely. It seems that you can construct a Level 10 Unchained Monk that can attack NINE TIMES in a single, 3-action round. Can someone please explain where in my reasoning this is wrong and how many attacks an Unchained Monk in the Unchained Action economy actually has?


NOTE: Snappie sagely notes in the comments that the Flurry counts as an Advanced Action in the UAE, which means you can't do 3 of them in a round! Makes sense. That would also means you can't do ki strikes in conjunction with a Flurry of Blows, despite what the Unchained Monk rules say, since you need a Swift Action to add them to the Flurry of Blows, and if the Flurry occupies all 3 acts, then you're out of luck to use one.


NOTE: Simple Lime seems to disagree with Snappie that Flurry of Blows is not a full round action in the Unchained Action Economy. Which would mean then that my below explanation stands. However, s/he suggests that you would only count Elbow Smash once in the round. At 10th level, this is supported by the language "At 9th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, a monk learns an additional style strike. He must choose which style strike to apply before the attack roll is made. At 15th level, he can designate up to two of his unarmed strikes each round as a style strike, and each one can be a different type. The monk can choose from any of the following strikes." S/he also is uncertain if you could use Medusa's Wrath with the Flurry, since the Flurry is no longer a full-round action (see his/her comments below for specific reasoning), but if you could, it should only happen once (provided you succeeded in 1 unarmed attack during the three simple attacks against a status'd opponent) because a "full-attack action" in the UE may be interpreted to mean, once you've used up all 3 acts.

Let's use a Level 10 Unchained Monk as an example with no STR bonus or any other bonus to make things simple.

I would have a +10 / + 5 BAB according to the UC Monk chart.

In the Unchained Action Economy (UAE), if I do nothing else, I can make make 3 actions that are "attack subtype." So on each action I do Flurry of Blows.

Flurry of Blows under the Unchained Action Economy reads:

"At 1st level, you can make an additional attack with a –2 penalty on your first attack simple action during a turn. At 8th level, you can make an additional attack on both your first and second attack simple actions during your turn. At 15th level, you can make an additional attack on each of your attack simple actions during your turn. You must, of course, take all the penalties associated with those attacks."

Does this mean the following?

1st Attack Action (Flurry of Blows)

  1. +10 initial class attack
  2. +8 extra attack from Flurry at -2 (+10 - 2)

2nd Attack Action (Everything is at -5 per UAE rules, Flurry again)

  1. +5 initial class attack (+10 - 5)
  2. +3 extra attack from Flurry at -2 (+10 - 5 - 2)

3rd Attack Action (Everything is at -10 per UAE rules, normal attack)

  1. +0 initial attack (+10 - 10)

You'll note on the face of it that I'm determining the Flurry of Blows' extra attack in each of the first two attack actions as calculated from the highest BAB. This is because the rules, whether you're relying on the Unchained Monk or the regular Monk, both instruct you to do exactly that. The Unchained Monk rules say it's made at the "highest base attack bonus" whereas the regular Monk rules say "for the purposes of [Flurry extra] attacks, the monk's base attack bonus from his monk class is equal to his monk level." So it seems to be +10 BAB in either case, then minus 2 per the action economy rules above.

OK. Does this look correct so far or am I missing something?

Now at 10th level I have at least 5 Ki points in my pool. The Unchained Monk says:

"By spending 1 point from his ki pool as a swift action, a monk can make one additional unarmed strike at his highest attack bonus when making a flurry of blows attack."

So then:

1st Attack Action (Flurry)

  1. +10 initial class attack
  2. +10 ki strike (expending 1 point) via Swift Action
  3. +8 extra attack from Flurry at -2 (+10 - 2)

2nd Attack Action (Everything is at -5 per UAE rules, Flurry)

  1. +5 initial class attack (+10 - 5)
  2. +3 extra attack from Flurry at -2 (+10 - 5 - 2)

3rd Attack Action (Everything is at -10 per UAE rules, normal)

We can't take a third attack action because we used a Swift Action to activate the ki strike as our 1st action.


SIDEBAR:

It seems we can't use TWO ki strikes in the 3-action economy because we'd need to use 2 swift actions to do that (which would result in only 1 Flurry):

"A swift action in the default action economy is always a simple action in this system. You need commit only 1 act to take that action. In rare cases, a GM might want to limit a given swift action to only once per turn."


Moving on...

At 10th level, I have slots for 2 Style Strikes, one at 5th level and one at 9th. "Whenever he makes a flurry of blows, he can designate one of his unarmed strikes as a style strike. This attack is resolved as normal, but it has an additional effect depending on the type of strike chosen." At 10th level we can only apply one to a single unarmed attack per round, since you get two options (of different kinds) at 15th level. I choose Elbow Smash and Head-Butt. Here it the text of Elbow Smash:

"The monk follows up a punch with a strike from his elbow. If the attack hits, the monk can make an additional attack using the same attack bonus as the punch at a –5 penalty. If this second attack hits, it deals damage as normal, but all of the damage is nonlethal. The monk must attack with a fist to use this style strike."

So now:

1st Attack Action (Flurry of Blows)

  1. +10 initial class attack.
  2. ---> if this was a punch, I get an extra nonlethal attack at +5 (+10 - 5, as the Elbow Smash has a -5 penalty).
  3. +10 ki strike (expending 1 point) as a Swift action.
  4. +8 extra attack from Flurry at -2 (+10 - 2).

2nd Attack Action (Everything is at -5 per UAE rules, Flurry again)

  1. +5 initial class attack (+10 - 5).
  2. +3 extra attack from Flurry at -2 (+10 - 5 - 2).

3rd Attack Action (Everything is at -10 per UAE rules, normal)

We can't take a third attack action because we used a Swift Action to activate the ki strike as our 1st action.

Finally, suppose at 8th level I took Medusa's Wrath as my bonus feat from the list of bonus feats available to the monk. This says:

"Whenever you use the full-attack action and make at least one unarmed strike, you can make two additional unarmed strikes at your highest base attack bonus. These bonus attacks must be made against a dazed, flat-footed, paralyzed, staggered, stunned, or unconscious foe."

This works in conjunction with Head-Butt, which has the potential to stagger your target if the hit is successful. Note that if "the full attack action" excludes Flurry in the unchained action economy, then we can't use Medusa's Wrath with Flurry.

So finally:

1st Attack Action (Flurry of Blows)

  1. +10 initial class attack as Head-Butt.
  2. Medusa's Wrath kicks if successful "staggered" effect on target, extra attack at +10
  3. And another from Medusa's Wrath (because you get two)
  4. +10 ki strike (expending 1 point) via a Swift Action
  5. +8 extra attack from Flurry at -2 (+10 - 2)

2nd Attack Action (Everything is at -5 per UAE rules, Flurry again)

  1. +5 initial class attack, say as Stunning Fist (+10 - 5), since I don't think we can stagger our opponent twice in the same round
  2. Medusa's Wrath kicks in if successful "stunned" effect on target, extra attack at +0 (+5 - 5)
  3. And another from Medusa's Wrath (because you get two)
  4. +3 extra attack from Flurry at -2 (+10 - 5 - 2)

3rd Attack Action (Everything is at -10 per UAE rules, normal)

We can't take a third attack action because we used a Swift Action to activate the ki strike as our 1st action.

For a grand total of 9 attacks???

I mean granted these last few attacks are conditional, and for the second set of Medusa's Wrath attacks, it would need to be on a separate target, but I wouldn't see it as being too difficult to pull at least half of this off quite frequently, all things considered.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Instead of adding answers to your question, click the ^ and check mark by answers you think are correct. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Jul 7 '17 at 12:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ I will, but unfortunately the two answers currently contradict each other, so I'm waiting for more answers to find the right one. \$\endgroup\$ – alkah3st Jul 7 '17 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ki strike is not the same as spending a point of ki to get an extra attack during a flurry. Also, the ki strike itself takes no action as its just part of an attack rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/62636/… \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Jul 7 '17 at 21:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also while summarizing my answer you mentioned that I say Medusa's Wrath isn't usable, which I don't say...I simply said I'm unsure how Medusa's Wrath would fit into this Unchained Action Economy...honestly 2 simple attack actions and a swift simple action to me, seems like it'd be close enough to a full-attack action I would probably allow it...but not sure if there are any rules/statements on that particular feat or situation \$\endgroup\$ – user36958 Jul 8 '17 at 2:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Though additionally, if you do get Medusa's Wrath you would only get an extra 2 attacks per turn, not 2 for each simple attack action you take. \$\endgroup\$ – user36958 Jul 8 '17 at 2:12
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I haven't used the Unchained Action Economy, but a quick serach the pathfinder srd says:

Full-Round Actions Are Advanced Actions: Full-round actions are nearly always advanced actions that require a consecutive 3-act commitment. (See the charge advanced action for an example of one that doesn’t require 3 acts.)

So no, you can't use 3 flurries because a flurry is a full-round action. Thus you can only squeeze one of them in a turn.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Omg that makes this so much more sensible \$\endgroup\$ – alkah3st Jul 7 '17 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ So the most attacks we're looking at here are 6 attacks in my final example, as 1 flurry in the first attack action? And this would mean I can't include the ki strikes? Since they require a Swift action? \$\endgroup\$ – alkah3st Jul 7 '17 at 11:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Although it looks like a conflict of rules for the ki strike with a flurry of blows. The rule says "By spending 1 point from his ki pool as a swift action, a monk can make one additional unarmed strike at his highest attack bonus when making a flurry of blows attack." But this particular rule isn't considering the Unchained Action Economy... which seems to rule it out, because you'd need a full-round action to do the flurry AND a swift action, which is too many in a round. \$\endgroup\$ – alkah3st Jul 7 '17 at 11:20
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First time looking into the Unchained Action Economy, but here are my thoughts on this.

So, with the flurry of blows section in the Unchained Action Economy I feel like this changes it up from requiring an advanced action.

The flurry of blows class feature works in a similar way. At 1st level, you can make an additional attack with a –2 penalty on your first attack simple action during a turn. At 8th level, you can make an additional attack on both your first and second attack simple actions during your turn. At 15th level, you can make an additional attack on each of your attack simple actions during your turn. You must, of course, take all the penalties associated with those attacks

So now, instead of requiring an advanced, 3 act action, to flurry, you can take 3 simple attack actions and add an additional strike to them based on your level. This means you could take only 2 simple attack actions, adding on your additional strike to each from flurry at level 10 and then use the third simple action as a swift action, to spend a point from your ki pool to gain an additional attack at full BAB.

For Elbow Smash I would say you only get one extra attack per round with it, not one for each simple attack action you take. Style Strike says

At 5th level, a monk can learn one type of style strike. Whenever he makes a flurry of blows, he can designate one of his unarmed strikes as a style strike. This attack is resolved as normal, but it has an additional effect depending on the type of strike chosen. At 9th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, a monk learns an additional style strike. He must choose which style strike to apply before the attack roll is made. At 15th level, he can designate up to two of his unarmed strikes each round as a style strike, and each one can be a different type. The monk can choose from any of the following strikes.

So, even though you know 2 style strikes, you must decide which one to use before your attack.

So your attack (with the ki pool point and elbow smash) would end up looking like: First Simple Attack:

  1. +10
  2. +5 (elbow smash)
  3. +10 (ki pool point)
  4. +8 (flurry)

Second Simple Attack: +5/+3

Third Simple Attack: Spend a point from your Ki Pool (swift action)

I'm not sure how Medusa's Wrath fits into all this, since flurry isn't really a full round action anymore. I would personally allow it (2 simple attacks actions and a simple swift action in UAE seem close enough to a full-attack action in the normal rules to me), though I'm unsure of any rulings or statements one way or the other on how to convert feats and situations like this over.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, I think I follow - I didn't realize when it says "on your first attack simple action" it means really, the first action you make in a 3-action economy that is an attack, and so on. In your example "First Simple Attack", what about the second attack I get normally from my class? That is, doesn't +10/+5 mean I have 2 attacks per attack action normally, not accounting for the Flurry of Blows, or does the Flurry of Blows exclude the second attack that comes from my BaB? \$\endgroup\$ – alkah3st Jul 7 '17 at 13:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, on your "Second Simple Attack" example, we've got the first attack as +5 (+10 - 5), then we're dropping the Elbow Smash because we're saying it's once per round, then you've got what I assume is the extra flurry, at +3--how do you come to +3? Is your calculation +10 BAB, -5 for being the Second Simple Attack, and -2 for being the flurry? \$\endgroup\$ – alkah3st Jul 7 '17 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Iterative attacks have been discarded in this action economy. Instead, any character can make multiple attacks during her turn simply by taking multiple actions to do so" (from Unchained Action Economy so you no longer have that second attack from your class, you instead just make a second simple attack action and "Each subsequent attack action taken during your turn imposes a cumulative –5 penalty on the attack roll". \$\endgroup\$ – user36958 Jul 7 '17 at 19:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your second simple attack ends up being at +10 BAB - 5 second attack and you get a Flurry of Blows at a - 2 so you end up with +5/+3 \$\endgroup\$ – user36958 Jul 7 '17 at 19:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, finally some clarity! \$\endgroup\$ – alkah3st Jul 7 '17 at 20:19

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