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This is the revised Way of the Unbreakable Fist, applying many of the changes that were suggested on the last review. Let me know what you all think!

Way of the Unbreakable Fist

Level 3

Steel Fists

You infuse your Ki energy into a set of metal gloves. These can be found, or crafted. If crafting, this costs 20 gold worth of metallic materials (purchasable at blacksmiths, or acquired in the form of weapons or other material) and access to a heat source, such as a campfire. This can be done while performing a long rest, or take 1 hour at any time (1 ki). While wearing these gloves, you can cause slashing damage when doing an unarmed strike, instead of bludgeoning.

Unbreakable Fist (1 ki)

While using your Steel Fists, you apply one effect depending on the type of damage you are doing with your unarmed strike:

Gashing Wound(Slashing)

Target an area for your slashing strike and pick one of the following:

  • Arms - Once per turn, when an effected enemy makes an attack roll, they take damage equal to your proficiency bonus.
  • Legs - The target takes one point of damage per 5ft moved.

These effects last until the target takes a long rest, is healed, or succeeds a Medicine check against your DC.

Cracking Strike(Bludgeoning)

You can target a bone for your strike. The target must make a dexterity saving throw against your monk DC or suffer one of the effects based on the location:

  • Arms - The target subtracts 1d4 from attack rolls. This goes up to 1d6 at level 11.
  • Legs - The targets speed is reduced by 10 feet. This goes up to 20 feet at level 11.

These effects last until the target takes a long rest, is healed, or succeeds a Medicine check against your DC.

Level 6

Unarmed Thrust

You can now cause piercing damage with your unarmed strikes.

In addition, when using Unbreakable Fist you can apply the following effect while doing piercing damage:

  • When used against a target wearing armor, you gain advantage on the attack roll.

  • If used against a target with natural armor, you do additional damage equal to your proficiency bonus.

Parry

When another creature tries to hit you with a melee attack, as a reaction, you can use your reaction to add your proficiency bonus to your AC for that attack, potentially causing the attack to miss you.

Level 11

One with the Fist

The glove merges with the hand and can no longer be removed.

At will you can cast "alter self" only for hiding or showing the merged glove. You can also change the form of the gloves.

Spells or effects that target your Steel Fists can be cast upon your gloves, but you suffer no harmful effects from these. Ex. The "Heat metal" affect the glove, but does not do damage to you. This affect can still damage targets you are touching.

Parry Upgrade (1 ki)

If the triggering attack is by an enemy with a weapon that can be disarmed, and misses, you can spend 1 ki point to force the attacker to make a strength check versus 8 + Dexterity Modifier + Proficiency bonus, or be disarmed of the weapon. The weapon falls to the ground.

Level 17

Heart Pierce (4 Ki)

As an action you can spend 4 Ki point to charge your fist with ki energy and pierce it into an enemies heart (or vital organs/core if the creature has no heart). The target must make a dexterity saving throw. The target takes 10d10+20 on a failed save, or half as much on a successful save.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello. A changelog could be helpful. What have you fixed, and how? What advice you decided not to take, and why? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented May 19 at 9:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot Those are questions irrelevant to the question of "is this balanced". They are useful to the question "how did this change" but OP already knows that and the rest of us don't need to. \$\endgroup\$
    – ValhallaGH
    Commented May 19 at 11:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ValhallaGH knowing if the OP took the right lessons from the first answers can help us craft new ones. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented May 19 at 11:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ValhallaGH if OP decided not to use some of the advice from previous iteration, posting the same advice would be useless. Thus, knowing it is needed to answer in useful way. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented May 19 at 15:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ One problem I see with Parry gameplay wise: The Monk already has a feature that gives him better defense agaisnt attacks: Patient Defense. Stacking those two can make him almost unhitteble. Currently Patient Defense costs 1 KI, but if I remember correctly it was free in the last Playtest for the new 2024 PHB. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 19 at 18:32

1 Answer 1

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First of all, it could use some adjustments to the writing

Steel Fists

While wearing these gloves, you can cause slashing damage when doing an unarmed strike, instead of bludgeoning.

When do you choose the type of damage? Can you change the type of damage between one attack and another in a single Attack action?

Unbreakable fist

The way you write this feature, it seems like an automatic effect ("While using your Steel Fists, you apply one effect depending on the type of damage you are doing with your unarmed strike"). However, it costs 1 ki point, so you probably mean for it to be akin to Stunning Strike, in that you can choose whether to use it when you hit. Compare to its wording: "When you hit another creature with a melee weapon attack, you can spend 1 ki point to attempt a stunning strike".

What happens if the enemy has no arms/legs (you're facing an ooze, for example)? Will this feature have no effect?

These effects last until the target takes a long rest, is healed, or succeeds a Medicine check against your DC.

  • When can you make the Medicine check? Is it an action? Can you try it multiple times? Also, could someone else (an ally proficient in Medicine) make it on you?

  • You write "your DC", but you should probably specify that it's the ki save DC (I assume).

  • Also, I think writing this part only once in the feature description, after specifying the effects, is enough. Especially since you didn't repeat it in the description of Unarmed Thrust.

Gashing Wound(Slashing)

Legs - The target takes one point of damage per 5ft moved.

As written, the target will suffer damage when pushed, carried or falling... and probably teleported, too. You could look to the description of opportunity attacks for an example of good wording: "You also don't provoke an opportunity attack when you teleport or when someone or something moves you without using your movement, action, or reaction. For example, you don't provoke an opportunity attack if an explosion hurls you out of a foe's reach or if gravity causes you to fall past an enemy."

Unarmed Thrust

I assume the design intent there was that you can always cause one of these two effects, however, if so, you ignored a case of an enemy simply not having any armor. As it is, there's no additional effect against such an enemy - did you intend to group these together with those that have natural armor?

Parry

You don't need to specify "as a reaction" again when you write "you can use your reaction to [...]".

One with the Fist

Alter Self should probably only apply to hiding the merged glove (as showing it is the default state while not under the spell's effects).

Additionally, can you still use your other subclass features while the gloves are hidden? Alter Self is transmutation, not illusion, which means it would not only visually hide the gloves, but they actually would physically not be there while you're concentrating on the spell.

Parry Upgrade

8 + Dexterity Modifier + Proficiency bonus

It's worth specifying here that it's your Dexterity Modifier + your Proficiency bonus, which would make it in line with other rules and leaves no room for misinterpretation.

Heart Pierce

As an action you can spend 4 Ki point to charge your fist with ki energy and pierce it into an enemies heart (or vital organs/core if the creature has no heart)

This is mostly a nitpick but I would simply write "pierce it into an enemy's vital points" to make the text flow better.

Additionally, what type of damage does it do? Similar Monk features typically do necrotic damage.

As a final note, make sure Ability Score names (Dexterity) are capitalized in your text.

What about balance?

Okay, so I've been talking about how you could improve the writing of your subclass, without considering its actual power.

At first glance, this version doesn't seem as unbalanced to me as the previous one did. It definitely is a step in the right direction. However, it still does seem a bit heavy on the features. Unbreakable Fist alone provides a plethora of debuffs, potentially 4 that you could apply on one enemy (and you could do it all in one turn, thanks to Extra Attack and Flurry of Blows, if you can change the damage type during your turn). To be honest, it seems to me like they should probably only last one round, that way you could avoid this subclass' gameplan devolving to "how many debuffs can I apply to our enemies for this fight?" and instead move towards "how should I utilize my debuffs strategically?". I'm not sure if I wouldn't drop the two choices for each type damage entirely and only make it 1 per 1 damage type. Similarly, I'm not sure if I would keep the parry, as it could probably carry half on an entirely separate subclass on its own and doesn't play into the steel glove idea too much.

In my answer I focused mostly on the language problems that you could fix to make your subclass more in line with other rules in the game (since you didn't specify that you were specifically looking for balancing feedback). I do think it still needs some adjustments and/or subtractions, but I'll let someone else run the numbers and elaborate more on the balance part, as I'm not too experienced with it and wouldn't want to mislead you.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the thorough language dive! I will get those changes applied. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 19 at 20:49

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