November 18, 2016

Way of the Dragon

Monastic Tradition
Comments from the Palm: Dragon PUUUNCH

Way of the Dragon

Warriors of all creeds envy and revere dragons; their power, speed, and energy are nearly unmatched amongst even the most magical of creatures. Monks of the Way of the Dragon seek to externalize their ki, emulating the great dragons, and turning it into fuel which stokes the roaring flame inside them.

Dragon Arts
At 3rd level, you learn a number of fighting techniques unique to the Way of the Dragon:
     Dragon Claw Strike. As a bonus action, you can spend 2 ki points to wreathe your hands and feet in flames. Your unarmed strikes deal an additional 1d4 fire damage for 1 minute.
     Dragon Tail Whip. When striking with a Flurry of Blows attack, you can force a target to succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone.
     Dragon Wing Buffet. You force a great blast of wind from your flapping arms. As a bonus action, you can spend 2 ki points to force all adjacent opponents to make Strength saving throws or be pushed 15 feet away from you.

Soaring Dragon Leap
At 6th level, you learn techniques that allows you to ascend into the heavens like the great winged beasts. Your jump distance doubles. This increase can stack with Step of the Wind, multiplying your total jump distance by 4. Additionally, your Slow Fall ability now reduces damage from falling by 10 times your monk level.

Dragon Fire Blast
By 11th level, you can use your action to spend 1 or more ki points and belch flame onto your foes. Each creature in a 30-foot cone must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 3d6 fire damage plus an additional d6 for each ki point expended, up to a maximum of 10d6, or half as much on a successful save.

Shining Dragon Strike
At 17th level, you learn the ultimate technique of the Way of the Dragon. You gather your ki into a devastating kick or punch, striking your opponent with the full fury of a raging dragon. As an action, you can spend 3 ki points and make an unarmed strike. On a hit, the target makes a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the target takes 5d8 fire and 5d8 radiant damage, and, if it is Large or smaller, it is flung into the air. For every 10 points of damage it takes, it is moved 10 feet upward, and falls. On a successful save, the target takes half damag and it not flung into the air.

Changelog: 11/18/16: Dragon Claw Strike: 1d4 rather than 1d6 damage
Dragon Wing Buffet: Bonus action, rather than an action
Dragon Fire Blast: 3d6 damage + 1d6 for each ki point, minimum 1 ki point, max 10d6
Shining Dragon Strike: Attack is an action on its own


  1. Overall, I really like this, but Dragon Fire Blast seems pretty lack luster. 2 ki points for 1d6 Fire in a 30ft cone at 11th? The Circle of Scales bonus action breath is far better than this, and can arguably be used much, much more often.

    1. well it's 1d6 plus 2d6 minimum (2 ki points) and you can pump more in to be up to 12d6 (using all ki points) for a maximum at 11th level.

    2. Still, I should probably pump the base damage a little, even if only by 1d6.

      Also, off topic: your name is Jaron? That threw me for a loop, because that's MY name too, and I knew I hadn't posted yet...

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The concept here is cool, but I think there are several problems with the abilities.

    Dragon Claw Strike is COMPLETELY insane. 2 Ki points to increase your damage output by at least 2d6 (up to 4d6) per round? Definitely overpowered.
    I think it should instead increase the unarmed attack's damage die by one step (for the same ki price).

    Dragon Wing Buffet is kinda useless.

    Monks usually get a combat efficient ability at 6th level, but this one gets a ribbon. Maybe instead something that relates to dragon scales and increase defense?
    Or choosing between 3 abilities that improve either Step of the wind (the current one), Patient defense (when you use it you also get a small ac bonus or cover or something) and Flurry of blows (perhaps move dragon tail whip here and get rid of wing buffet).

    I agree with Skeleton Jester that Dragon Fire Blast is sub-par. At the least, it should be 1d6 per ki point.

    I...kinda missed why Shining Dragon Strike is at any way Dragon-y. I guess it's a reference I don't understand (probably anime, right?). But besides, this ability should very obviously be only 1/long rest (otherwise you can use it 4 times on one turn and cause over 40d8+4d10). Also, either the damage should be decreased, the ki cost should be increased, or the whole thing should not be "when you hit" but "you make a special attack" (probably all three of these nerfs).

    1. The last part is really annoying me, it's like you didn't read into quivering palm ever before. Quivering palm is harder to use, but is overall better because if the guy falls his save, he dies. This can deal a lot of damage if you just burn tons of Ki points on a single creature, and even then half the damage is fire so at a super high level it's not very good anyway. At most you could do 6 of these attacks before you didn't have enough ki to do it anymore, so it's like a warlock blowing all of his spell slots to do massive damage single target spells.
      Monks on their own usually aren't even DPSs at higher levels because fighters/barbarians/paladins/rangers can use great weapon fighting/sharpshooter to get that +10 to damage per attack on every attack forever, so a little damage booster isn't that harmful.

    2. Quivering palm has a con save, which means almost all really big threats succeed, and deals necrotic damage, which is way easier to resist than radiant (it's probably third on the most-resisted type, after poison and fire).
      And quivering palm requires you to use an action after the hit, meaning you can't attack for that whole round, and it's still very powerful.

      You compared this to a warlock burning many spell slots, but if you use this with all 4 of your attacks in a round, you deal an average of 222 damage (assuming 20 dex and without the Dragon Claw Strike damage). It deals an average of 166 damage if you hit only 3 times- needing 9 ki. A METEOR SWARM deals an average of 140 damage. Quivering palm deals an average of 55 damage if the target makes the save- and any target with legendary resistance will.

      Now go ahead and tell me this compares to a warlock spending spell slots.

    3. Oh, well I missed the fact that the ability has a dexterity save for half damage- but I also didn't include that if you fail the save you get about 5d6 additional fall damage.
      In any case, the damage potential of this ability is WAY beyond anything another class can do in 1 turn without multiclass- and even when min-maxing you'll have to work hard to get there.

    4. You make a good point about SDS (which, by the way, is a reference to Ken Masters Shinryuken from the later Street Fighter games), and one that can be fixed with a simple wording change.

      The issue with quivering palm is action economy: it takes at least an attack action and another action to set off. Being able to hit with a SDS on every attack in the round isn't the intent, it's a big, fighting-game style super move.

      In that vein, it should be "as an action on your turn, you may make an unarmed strike against a creature within reach. If you hit..." and then the rest of the text.

    5. Goodness you're right, I forgot the enemy is flung into the air. At most you could use the super jump you get at level 6 to possibly get a second hit in, but that's it. With that to take into account, the SDS is extra perfectly fine.

  3. I love this homebrew to death, this is some great shit right here, there is almost nothing wrong with it and it's fantastic. The fire blast is on par with the sunlight monk's radiant fireball knock off in terms of damage, though it's range is kinda iffy and you might wanna make it a little better because fire immunity/resistance is common at higher levels.
    Dragon Wing buffet is a little useful but since it takes an action it's almost worthless, because if you do that, you can't attack with any attacks that turn, alls you can do is run away. Which granted is fine I guess, but it's kinda awful as an action.
    Otherwise great homebrew, fantastic, I wanna run one of these guys for a campaign now.

  4. I'm currently designing an oriental campaign setting, and this perfect for monks of the Dragon clan. Since the Dragons are the imperial family, the capstone dealing radiant is even better. I love it. The problems I see are, as mentioned, that the wing buffet is worthless as an action, and that RAW, dragon fire blast deals 3d6 base damage. 1d6+2d6 because you spent 2 Ki points. I also agree with the above, in that dragon claw strike is too good at 1d6 fire damage. Perhaps reduce to 1d4 or make it Wisdom mod?

    1. The monk could just multiclass into warlock and grab hex, which is essentially the same thing but way better because it not only does necrotic damage, which is less resisted than fire, lasts for an hour, and gives the target disadvantage on ability score checks that are done with a chosen score.

    2. And requires a multiclass. Which adds MAD.
      Just because it's possible to min-max a way to 1-up an overpowered ability doesn't mean it's not overpowered- to the contrary. if you need to multiclass in a specific way just to have about the same power level, the ability is definitely overpowered.
      I think the best way to balance it is to pay ki per attack (when you hit you may pay 1 ki to deal an dditional 1d6 or wis mod damage). And even so it's still very powerful.

    3. Well at most you need to have 13 cha to legally multiclass, and even then a couple levels into warlock to grab some invocations that don't need cha is pretty great because warlock is a great multiclass class.
      What do you mean if you can easily one up a class ability it means it's not overpowered? You get this ability at level 3, 3, not 1, warlocks have had hex for the past 3 levels while you're straggling along without it.
      At such a low level they have to burn 2/3rds of their ki points to use it, while warlocks at that point can just cast hex, sort rest, and have back the spell slot.
      Ki per attack is a rancid idea because of how much Ki you'd be spending, it especially wouldn't be overpowered because then you'd run out of ki so fast at low levels you'd just be stuck punching someone normally for the rest of the fight, while everyone else gets cool stuff they can still do.
      Jesus Christ man, it's like you don't even play DND.

    4. The difference between Hex and dragon claw strike is that claw strike adds the damage to all attacks, while Hex adds it against only a single opponent. Additionally, Hex requires another bonus action to move the Hex once the target dies. Claw strike does not.

    5. Well okay let's make a little chart here to compare these options

      Monk thang-
      +works on all attacks
      -is awful damage type, fire, because it gets resisted/immunityed a ton
      /takes a bonus action to set up, which is the same as hex
      -lasts for only 1 minute

      +Gives entire warlock level, which gives some spells you can also use, and cantrips, along with killing someone giving you THP/undeads having a bitch of a time attacking you/being able to charm/scare people once per short rest/telepathy/free cantrips and +cha to all fire damage related spellcasting, oh and access to one of the best cantrips in the game
      +lasts longer
      +better damage type
      +gives disadvantage on one stat's related ability checks, so combo with grappler team mate to mess it up
      -concentration based
      -have to use bonus action to set it up again
      -messes up level progression, but doesn't even matter because monk's 20th level feature don't matter that much for most campaigns

      I guess there are differences, but Hexing is better overall.

    6. "At such a low level they have to burn 2/3rds of their ki points to use it, while warlocks at that point can just cast hex, sort rest, and have back the spell slot."
      Ki comes back at short rests. And at higher levels it's not nearly 2/3 of the ki.

      The thing is a warlock deals damage 1-2 times per turn until 11th level, while a monk deals damage 4 times per turn at 5th level. That's why Hex is balanced and the DCS (dragon claw strike) isn't. And yes, you can multiclass and get the same benefits, but class abilities should be based on how they work with the class they belong to. Monks don't get Hex, right? and that's for a good reason- it's stronger for them than it is for warlocks. So you shouldn't give a monk a Hex-like ability as a monk ability, so if he wants it he'll have to multiclass.

      Whether or not the multiclass is worth it (it probably is) is really not the point- the point is that allowing it WITHOUT the multiclass is something that should not be done (also because then a player can have BOTH the bonuses to damage).

      A regular 5th level monk (let's assume 18 dex) deals an average of 4d6+4*4=30 damage per round (assuming flurry of blows and all hits connect). When using DCS he'll deal 8d6+4*4=44 damage. That means this ability will multiply a monk's damage by almost 1.5 at 5th level, while only lowering the amount of Flurries from 5 to 3 (and many battle don't last 5 rounds anyway).
      At 20th level, a monk with 20 dex would deal an average of 4d10+4*5=42 damage per round. With DCS: 4d10+4d6+4*5=56 damage, which means it still multiplies the damage by 1.33 with a very low cost.

    7. At 1d4 additional damage the ability still multiplies the damage output by about 1.33-1.25, but I guess that's not really too much (+10 damage/round at 5th level and above).

  5. This kinda resembles Natsu from Fairy Tail. Sounds Interesting.

  6. The intent and general inspiration's were Ken Masters and Fei long from the Street Fighter series, with a little more classic dragon flavor built in.

  7. I'm really interested in the level 6 ability! With a set of Boots of Striding and Springing, you can have a base high jump of 20 feet, and with Step of the Wind, 40 feet! The Jump spell would take you into the ever-so-slightly nutty 120 feet after just a 10 foot run up. I can see this being mildly abused with Grapples, but i feel like dragging another person along would severely limit the height you could get, so that's pretty balanced. It could be combined with some sort of gliding apparatus (perhaps shaped like Dragon Wings?) for lots of pseudo-flight fun. All in all, I now know what subclass I'm choosing for my next Monk :D
    Also, random question: are you planning at any point to do more Vampire-themed classes? You digits already did a Warlock and a Rogue subclass, but I'm interested in what you'd come up with for a Vampire themed Fighter or Cleric!

  8. Shining Dragon Strike: Attack is an action on its own

    a good update, but to be on par with Quivering Palm what it mirros it needs a boost as that outrigth reduces you to O if you fail and 10d damge if you succsed.

    Any idea to implement slashing damage and or an upgraded AC (hardening/scales/mirror the thoughtness of dragons)

    1. It does not need to be stronger to be on par with quivering palm- quivering palm needs another action to activate while this does not.

    2. This right here, in addition to the fact that SDS, in most cases, will also cause falling damage.

  9. Dragon Tail Whip. When striking with a Flurry of Blows attack, you can force a target to succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone.

    I am confused as to why you would force them to succeed on a dex saving throw. Am I missing something?

    1. If I'm not mistaken, this wording is pulled directly from the Open Hand monk ability that does a similar thing. That said, the wording could be cleaned up.