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I have homebrewed various additional elemental disciplines for the Way of the Four Elements monk subclass. Although many of those are just adding more spells (erupting earth, tidal wave, etc), and others are just reskins of existing disciplines (such as fist of unbroken air, water whip, etc), one unique discipline that I came up with was this:

Water Jet (11th level required). You can spend 2 ki points as an action to unleash a jet of water in a line that is 30 feet long and 5 feet wide. Each creature in the line must make a Strength saving throw, taking bludgeoning damage equal to your Martial Arts die + your Wisdom modifier on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. In addition, each target that fails its saving throw is pushed up to 20 feet away from you.

However, I wrote this a while ago, and I can't remember why I decided that it should cost 2 ki (which is typically what the disciplines you have access to at 3rd level cost) but also be given a requirement of 11th level or above.

Intuitively, this feels like it would be fine as-is for a 3rd level Wot4E monk to have. Either that, or if it is to have a level requirement, the ki cost should match that of the other disciplines that have that same requirement (e.g. 4 ki points for an 11th level discipline, not 2 ki points).

Compared with the RAW elemental disciplines from the Player's Handbook, would this discipline be balanced if I removed the level requirement?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the bludgeoning damage from Water Jet considered magical? \$\endgroup\$ – CTWind Jul 31 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CTWind In my personal homebrewed version of the Wot4E subclass, I give them an extra feature at level 6, which allows any damage via their disciplines to count as magical, similar to the "Ki-empowered strikes" feature that all monks get at 6th level. So to answer your question, 6th level+, yes, but 3rd-5th, no. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jul 31 at 15:21
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This seems fine at 3rd level

I think the easier feature to compare this to is actually Fist of Four Thunders, which allows you to cast Thunderwave for 2 ki points:

  • Both effects require 2 ki points, deal some damage and push enemies back on a failed save.
  • Water Jet uses a Strength save whereas Thunderwave requires a Constitution save. (according to this, on average monster Strength saves tend to be slightly weaker)
  • Water Jet deals a lot less damage, assuming a reasonable +3 WIS at lvl 3, it's doing an average of 5.5 vs Thunderwave's 9. It scales better and if you get the Wisdom modifier to a +5 it catches up at lvl 11 doing 9.5 damage but at this lvl, this is very low damage either way. Also, there is the option of upcasting Thunderwave for more damage (and more ki) at this point.
  • Water Jet does Bludgeoning damage vs Thunderwave's thunder damage. Thunder damage is a lot less resisted than bludgeoning.
  • The areas are 30 ft line for Water Jet vs 15 ft cube. Usually a 30 ft line is comparable to a 15 ft cone (see for example dragonborn's breath weapon shapes) and I would say a 15 ft cube is a bit better as an area than a cone but still roughly equivalent in power.
  • Water Jet pushes the target back 20 ft vs Thunderwave's 10 ft. In my opinion this isn't that much greater. Yes it may make it easier to push them into hazardous terrain but it's the same for breaking grapples for example, and an extra 10 ft isn't all that impressive.

Given all this, I'd say overall the trade off of doing a lot less damage at the levels where said damage matters most vs pushing back a bit more and targeting a slightly better save are probably fine (I'd actually favor Thunderwave here) and I can't really see a justification for limiting this to level 11.

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