4
\$\begingroup\$

I've been waiting a long time for Wizards to release a Monk subclass for 5e that relies on psionics rather than sneak, weapons, and/or energy attacks. So, I decided to take things into my own hands, sculpting a subclass that focuses on mind and body, rather than body and mind. The only question left is...is it balanced against the other subclasses? (I will provide notes throughout regarding my own concerns, feel free to voice your own)

Way of Unwavering Discipline

Monks who follow the Way of Unwavering Discipline focus on the power of their own mind, manifesting their Ki as a primal psionic power. Throughout years of study, they maintain an incredibly strict discipline through which they learn to manipulate themselves and others to their own ideals.

Prerequisite

You must be of a lawful alignment to choose this Monastic Tradition.

Yeah, I put this in here just to prevent anyone from saying, "Hey! My CN Monk can totally contemplate law and order in the universe!"

Ki Psionics

As you gain experience, your mind finds more and more ways to reach out to others. When you choose this tradition at 3rd level, choose two cantrips from this list: Friends, Mage Hand, Message, Guidance, Resistance, Prestidigitation, Druidcraft, Vicious Mockery or Minor Illusion. You can now cast these cantrips as an action or bonus action, without expending any material components. You may select one additional cantrip from these options when you reach the 6th, 11th, and 17th levels in the Monk class, which you can cast in the same way.

I didn't want to do the same spell structure of the Shadow Monk for this. If there is a cantrip that you think I should add or remove from the list, please tell me.

Eternal Tolerance

By 6th level, your Ki allows you unify your mind and body, allowing you to simply ignore all but the most grievous wounds. If you take damage in a single turn that is less than or equal to your Monk level, you may use your reaction to instead take no damage. Additionally, you have advantage on Wisdom saving throws.

Basically, you are so disciplined that you can ignore (very small) amounts of pain. This scales, so this is the one feature I really need insight on for balance.

Present Mind

Beginning at 11th level, you become intensely aware of your surroundings, and have come to have reflexes that border on precognition. You have advantage on Wisdom (Insight) and Wisdom (Perception) checks, and you gain a bonus to Dexterity saves and Initiative rolls equal to your Wisdom modifier.

Focused Flight

Beginning at 17th level, your mastery of psionics allows you the benefit of uninterrupted flight. You gain a flight speed equal to your move speed, and the benefit of the Dash action can be applied to this speed. While you are flying in this way, you are hovering. Additionally, you can cast the Levitate spell at-will, without requiring concentration.

And that's about it! I would love to see your views comparing this subclass to other Monk subclasses, and also suggestions on how to improve it. Thanks!

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Good first question! :) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 11 '19 at 5:13
4
\$\begingroup\$

This class is not balanced because the third-level feature is not balanced.

The ability to cast these cantrips as either a bonus action or an action is unprecedented and probably over the top. There are a few existing cases where cantrips which are normally an action can be cast as a bonus action (Spare the Dying for the Grave Cleric, for example), but those are very specific, not a broad array of choices.

Particularly, Vicious Mockery is already one of the best cantrips, and allowing it as a bonus action is almost certainly overpowered.

But it's not just that one — making Resistance or Minor Illusion into bonus actions is incredibly powerful. I'd even be wary of Prestidigitation.

If you really want to do this, consider requiring ki as a balancing factor.

|improve this answer|||||
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would you like to improve your answer? As it is, you only evaluated one of the four features of the subclass. Also, I would like to point out that Resistance is not on the list. \$\endgroup\$ – Zobrothian Nov 10 '19 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ In the next iteration, I will most likely allow you to cast one of these as a bonus action for 1 Ki point. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ – Zobrothian Nov 10 '19 at 14:20
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't want to "improve my answer" — this one part is so off balance the rest is irrelevant. \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Nov 10 '19 at 15:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Zobrothian Nov 10 '19 at 16:06
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to also mention the other major problem with upgraded prestidigitation and Druidcraft here: they give you 'I'm a wizard!' and 'I'm a druid!' respectively. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 11 '19 at 5:23
-1
\$\begingroup\$

As a whole, the features are balanced, but I'll give my thoughts for each feature:

Ki Psionics

Cantrip choice is alright, but seems weird to have them able to be cast as both actions and bonus actions. The only current subclasses that allow a cantrip to be cast a bonus action for no cast are the Grave Domain Cleric and Arcane Trickster Rogue, and both of those examples are for one specific cantrip, not a wide range of choices. Specify that Wisdom is the spellcasting ability modifier for these spells.

Eternal Tolerance

I would remove "in a single turn", as it forms an odd, large trigger that could easily not be used. If a creature hits you with an attack for 6 damage, and then another for 6 damage, it wouldn't be able to be used. But if it's not for a turn, you would be able to use your reaction for the first attack's damage. Also, it bleeds into the effect of Slow Fall for even less fall damage, so I would make the trigger be "If you take damage from a single attack or spell". The reasoning for this is because the trigger would have to take place after the turn, and at that point the damage has been taken already, so preventing it creates an odd scenario.

Present Mind

Advantage on Wisdom(Insight) checks don't seem to fit the description, I would recommend changing it to Intelligence(Investigation) checks. Comparing it to the Inquisitive Rogue's Steady Eye feature leads me to this conclusion, as both are about being aware of your surroundings. If you intend on Wisdom(Insight) being part of it, I would change the beginning wording to be "aware of your surroundings and other creatures". I would also consider having the advantage only be available upon spending ki points, to let the psionic nature enhance it.

Focused Flight

You don't need to specify they can Dash with the flying speed, by RAW a character can already do so. Having Levitate not require concentration can be tricky with how the caster can control the height during it, and it means it can be active on multiple targets at once. But just being able to cast it at-will seems underpowered for 17th level. As a recommendation, I would allow Levitate to be cast at will (while requiring concentration), but change the fly ability to work similarly to the Storm Sorcerer's Wind Soul feature, where they can focus so tightly their flight extends to others.

Most of the features seem balanced, but needing tweaking.. If you change some of them, perhaps consider relying on ki a little more, as this subclass seems to gain no uses for it. And it seems to not use many of the attributes psionics are usually known for. The Eternal Tolerance and Present Mind features in particular just seem like features that could fit into any monk subclass, and not really psionic specific.

|improve this answer|||||
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your thoughts! I will take them into consideration for the second iteration. Now, for specifics: If a Monk did realize that the world was chaotic and manipulated that chaos, they would most likely be Lawful Evil. Second, regarding Present Mind: Becoming intensely aware might benefit Investigation, but Wisdom is defined as the ability score for awareness (also, the Monk class is based more on Wisdom). Being aware of your enemy's motives is rather important, too. As for Focused Flight, it seems that you want me to..buff it? I'm not too sure what you were saying there. \$\endgroup\$ – Zobrothian Nov 10 '19 at 3:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm currently editing my answer to fit the reviewing standards better, but in regards to the Focused Flight, I tried to a parallel shift in effectiveness. To make up for requiring concentration for Levitate, I tried to make a way to extend your flight to others, similar to a Storm Sorcerer's Wind Soul feature. And I added in the case for increasing the flight speed for you to match what is was before the change, as some characters could reach higher walking speeds. For Present Mind, I'm making a direct comparison to the Inquisitive Rogue's Steady Eye feature. \$\endgroup\$ – RallozarX Nov 10 '19 at 3:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll also be removing my part about the prerequisite. It is only stating my opinion on it, and does not affect balance really, so doesn't belong there. \$\endgroup\$ – RallozarX Nov 10 '19 at 3:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel it is worth commenting on the comparison of needing a prerequisite for a subclass, which no other class or subclass needs \$\endgroup\$ – L0neGamer Nov 10 '19 at 8:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The Bladesinger Wizard has the prerequisite of being an Elf or Half-Elf, so that's not quite true. \$\endgroup\$ – RallozarX Nov 10 '19 at 13:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.