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I built this subclass because I felt monks had no truly S tier subclass combat options or many options that did not require burning all the already limited ki resources available.

Is this subclass, more effective in combat on average compared to something like Way of the Open hand, or way of Peace? Is it too strong in combat? Not strong enough? I balanced the Freeflow focus to Monk level as I feel like it can be very easy to lose, and somewhat tricky to enter. I have been wanting to playtest the class but I haven't gotten the chance and I would like some crowd feedback/review/critique to improve my understanding of the game.

I am not concerned about mobility because the only thing Monks don't have better for mobility than other classes is flight which I have granted in a limited capacity. My main focus is the combat effectiveness and damage capacity of the class.

They will fear you.

Vigilant Tool Kit

3rd-level Way of the Vigilant feature

You gain proficiency in the Stealth and Investigation skills, and you gain proficiency with the disguise kit. You also gain a special mask, which you often wear when using the features of this subclass. You determine its appearance or generate it randomly by rolling on the Secret Identity table.

Secret Identity

d6 Mask Appearance
1 Robin
2 Plain Black Eye Mask
3 Full Cowl
4 Plague Hood
5 Skull
6 Tight Fit Hood

Freeflow Focus

3rd-level Way of the Vigilant feature

Your iron will to enforce justice enables you to focus your attacks into a single unending chain.

Upon successfully hitting 3 attacks in a row, you enter a state of Freeflow Focus, causing every strike to land true, harder and further away until your next attack is missed, you take damage or the combat ends. While in Freeflow you gain the following benefits:

  • Your monk weapon attacks deal an additional martial arts die per attack
  • You double your proficiency modifier when rolling to attack.
  • When landing an attack, you can freely jump 15 feet to hit a different enemy, without provoking opportunity attacks.

You can enter this feature a number of times equal to your monk level per long rest.

Vigilante tools

6th-level Way of the Vigilant feature

Extensive training in the ways of your sect has taught you the secret crafts of the master vigilant tinkerers.

You gain proficiency in Tinker's tools and learn a number of unique crafting recipes for gadgets used by your Monk sect in the pursuit of justice. Upon gaining this feature a Way of the vigilant monk may obtain one of the following items for free.

  1. Hands-Free Grappling hook

    Crafted by using 5 Gp worth of steel, 100gp worth of complex machinery and at least 50 feet of rope.

    This tool allows you and any allies to scale any vertical surface equal to or less than the length of the rope used to craft it. When climbing using this tool regular movement speed is used, and your hands are considered free for the sake of making attacks or using items, additionally, anyone using this tool may stop moving and remain still while climbing without falling.

  2. Vigilant Throwing Weapon

    Crafted using 5 Sp Each

    This tool allows a vigilant monk to use an action to make an attack to a range of 60ft dealing its martial arts die in damage, additionally, a single stunning strike may be performed per enemy using a ranged Vigilant throwing weapon. Multi-attack and flurry of blows can be used in conjunction with the throwing weapon.

  3. Bladed Gauntlets

    Crafted using 300 GP worth of specialist materials.

    This tool allows a Vigilant monk to catch enemy melee weapons in their bladed gauntlets and disarm the enemy with their reaction when they miss an attack by half of your proficiency bonus rounded down.

  4. Glider Suit

    Crafted using 400 GP worth of specialist Fabrics.

    When slow falling a vigilant monk may instead choose to open their glider suit and gain a hands-free glide, allowing them to move their movement speed in any direction but up, land without taking any fall damage, and attack using ranged weapons and abilities. This glide can maintain height endlessly and can be lifted by strong winds.

Once obtained, any of these gadgets can be used for as long as they aren't damaged. Upon becoming unconscious, roll a D4, the result determining which gadget does or does not become damaged.

Redirect Blow

11th-level Way of the Vigilant feature

Whilst in Freeflow, if an attack would hit you you can direct it to any other enemy in range you can see and add a martial arts die to the damage up to a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus per long rest.

Counterblows

17th-level Way of the Vigilant feature

Your mastery of the free flow prevents any physical harm from coming to you.

If an enemy would hit you with a melee attack whilst you are in freeflow mode, you can use your reaction to instead redirect all damage back to the attacker and attack them using an unarmed attack twice a number of times equal to your proficiency modifier per long rest.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The title of your question (and the subclass within the question) confuses me. First, you're asking for a subclass review, which is not the same as a whole new class. Second, Vigilant and Vigilante mean rather different things (despite their etymological connections). \$\endgroup\$
    – Blckknght
    Jun 7, 2022 at 9:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Blckknght I made a slightly presumptuous edit to the title which I hope helps? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 7, 2022 at 11:03

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Here are my thoughts for each of the features:

  • Vigilant Tool Kit: My only real complaint about this one is that this doesn't explain when it would be required. Would it be something you wear all the time and you wouldn't be able to do some of the class features? There doesn't seem to be an actual need for the mask to be part of the subclass, at least in terms of a feature.

  • Freeflow Focus: While this is a personal preference, I feel getting rid of the "enforce justice" part, since not all vigilantes are about being lawful. I think getting rid of that wording would give characters more room to work with the class from a roleplay perspective. My main gripe with this is the 3rd part, the jumping. I really think there should be a limit for the amount of times you can jump to a different enemy, probably limit it to one time per attack, maybe incrementing at higher levels. In addition, as mentioned before, allowing one to enter this feature up to someone's monk level is very overpowered.

  • Vigilante Tools: This is just a lot to use and handle, and I honestly can't see many players using these. I do feel like having gadgets becoming damaged should be a bit more than just a d4 if you become unconscious. Failing ability checks using these gadgets I feel might be a better solution. In addition, there should probably be an indicator for how much time these would take to create, as well as how a player would get one of these for free at first. It may not be the most natural to integrate in every campaign.

  • Redirect Blows: When redirecting an attack, what counts as in range? Would this work with melee, ranged, or both? Monks already have ki points to use for deflect missiles, so if you're going to use this for redirecting melee attacks, why not use ki as well? Also, the wording is a bit confusing here.

  • Counterblows: Would all the redirected damage be of the same type (bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing), would it be magical if the original attack was magical? I do see the appeal of doing a couple unarmed strikes back, but I feel it should be one or the other.

Overall thoughts: My main gripe is how ki isn't used at all. I feel it should be used for each individual ability or ki should be used to enter free flow rather than the requirement of 3 attacks. While this would make free-flow more accessible, it would also limit it since access is now tied to ki points, and it would be something you'd have to decide when to use, not something you could theoretically get every combat. In addition, I feel some of the abilities can be somewhat overpowered, but it isn't super crazy, and some of the wording is confusing or nonstandard. I do like the idea though and would love to see how it evolves.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The Vigilant Tool Kit is copied with minor changes from the Mercy Monk: "You also gain a special mask, which you often wear when using the features of this subclass. You determine its appearance, or generate it randomly by rolling on the Merciful Mask table." (Though I still had the same questions about this.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Laurel
    Jun 5, 2022 at 2:58
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I see someone's a big fan of the Arkham Games ;) I like the freeflow focus in general, but see just a few issues with it. Being able to use it an amount of times equal to your monk level seems like a lot, I'd suggest tying it to proficiency bonus, using ki to enable it or making it scale with the Monk's Dexterity modifier. There should probably also be some conditions on which your Freeflow Focus gets interrupted, maybe it should work similar to a concentration spell?

The Vigilante Tools seem like a lot of fun, but I'm afraid they might add quite a bit of overload to the Monk. The class already has a lot of features, so the general danger in designing a subclass for them is adding too much.

Besides the balance side of things I feel like you got a good idea going on though! Looks like a fun class to play.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, Qwakkie, I did mention that upon missing an attack the effect ends. Still, I have since edited the description to elucidate my missing thoughts that it also ends after combat and after getting hit, which is why the later features are focused even further on damage avoidance. You're right that the monk gets a lot of stuff, and that the tools are even further still, but I tried to balance that by making each take a special effort to obtain after the first. Additionally, I feel monk gets so many features because most of them suck and are forgettable, but that's why I made this. \$\endgroup\$ May 20, 2022 at 10:06

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