Improved Battle Dancer and Improved Monk

( ⇪ Classes )

The monk is considered the laughing stock of the core classes even with feat support, and the battle dancer is essentially worthless as-is. However, since called shots exist, save points exist, strife exists, and we’re importing Pathfinder’s Combat Maneuvers, we can make some minor improvements to these classes to make them competent melee debuffers. Of-course, these improvements also apply to the wild, sidewinder, and chaos monks. It’s also important to mention that certain aspects of the action economy have been clarified into a more coherent whole in this setting (in particular, changes to the 5-foot step and full attack action).

Improvements for Both Monks and Battle Dancers

Improved Unarmed Strike Fixes: The Unarmed Strike ability gains the fixes to the Improved Unarmed Strike feat.

Weakening Strike (Ex): While you are unarmored and unencumbered, once per round on your turn before an unarmed strike’s attack roll you can declare it to be one of the following types. You get a bonus on your attack roll equal to 1/2 your class level, and you must press your luck. This is not a called shot, and you cannot elect to make this attack a called shot. If the creature does not have a discernible anatomy (that is, if it’s not vulnerable to critical hits), this attack does nothing. Otherwise, you deal double your unarmed strike damage (doubling the total of one roll, not rolling twice) as save point loss instead. Further, if the creature’s type is known, you gain +1 to your unarmed strike damage for each rank you have in the relevant Knowledge skill (add this bonus before doubling the damage roll). This ability does not stack with another instance of this ability in another class.

  • “Kidney Strike”: FP loss.
  • “Leg Strike”: RP loss.
  • “Head Strike”: WP loss.

Maneuver Advantage (Ex): While you are unarmored and are unencumbered, you get a bonus to your CMB and on called shot attack rolls equal to 2 + 1/4 your class level. This ability does not stack with another instance of this ability in another class.

Maneuver Boost (Ex): While you are unarmored and are unencumbered, when you make an unarmed strike called shot attack roll or if you press your luck when using your CMB, you gain a bonus to the static modifier equal to 2 + 1/3 your class level. The use of this ability must be declared before the variable modifier roll. You can use this ability a number of times each encounter equal to 2 + 1/2 your class level. This ability does not stack with another instance of this ability in another class.

Unarmed Maneuver Specialty (Ex): Upon reaching every even class level, choose any combat maneuver. You gain a permanent +1 bonus to your CMB for and CMD against that maneuver whenever you are unarmed, unarmored, and unencumbered. You can choose a different combat maneuver each time you reach an even-numbered class level, or gain cumulative bonuses with the same maneuver. This ability stacks with another instance of this ability in another class.

Aura of Calm (Ex): At 2nd level, a monk, wild monk, or sidewinder monk (but not a battle dancer or chaos monk) and their allies gain solace from a monk’s serenity. A monk heals their own strife equal to half their character level, rounded up, every round at the start of their turn. At the same time, all of a monk’s allies within 10 feet also heal their own strife by one-quarter the monk’s character level, rounded up.

Improvements for Monks Only

Proficiencies: Monks are proficient with unarmed strikes in addition to their other weapon proficiencies. (Battle dancers are already proficient with unarmed strikes.)

Stunning Fist Fixes: A monk that selects the Stunning Fist feat gains the fixes to the Stunning Fist feat.

Off-hand Penalty Clarification: A monk does not suffer an off-hand penalty when attacking unarmed. This means that if he’s attacking unarmed and that attack would be within the “off-hand” sequence of the full-attack routine, the off-hand penalty is reduced to that of the primary hand.

For example, when only using unarmed strikes, before accounting for ability modifiers, feats, and non-monk BAB, a 1st-level human monk’s longest possible full attack routine would be – 6 (flurry) / – 6 (primary hand) / – 6 (other hand) / – 6 (leg) / – 6 (other leg), or – 4 (flurry) / – 4 (primary hand) / – 4 (other hand) / – 4 (leg) / – 4 (other leg) with the Two-Weapon Fighting Multiweapon Training feat. Unarmed strikes are light weapons and normally reduce the penalties by 2, but that benefit was negated in this example because the routine includes a – 2 flurry of blows.

Flurry of Blows Improvements: The following abilities count as having the flurry of blows ability for the purposes of meeting prerequisites:

  • A chaos monk’s “Flailing Strike”
  • A kensai fighter’s “Rain of Blows” or “Storm of Blows” (D310 p36)

Monk Variant Improvements: A chaos monk and sidewinder monk don’t lose any of the bonus feats attributed to a standard monk, so they qualify for most standard monk feature-swapping variants.

Improvements for Battle Dancers Only

A battle dancer (but not a monk, wild monk, sidewinder monk, or chaos monk) gains the following abilities:

Proficiencies: A battle dancer is also proficient with and favors a bladed scarf, an exotic light melee weapon which looks like a normal scarf on one side while the other side has a number of blades woven into the ends and tassels, re-hidden by pulling a cord in the middle. Discovering that the scarf is a weapon while the blades are hidden requires a DC 15 Search check. The blades together have the same statistics as a dagger (including cost and weight) with no range increment but with a 10-foot reach. Because of the flexibility of the scarf, it also threatens adjacent squares.

Multiweapon Training: A battle dancer at 1st level gains Multiweapon Training as a bonus feat.

Improved Dance of Reckless Bravery: Each time a battle dancer uses this ability, she and all of her allies within 30 feet of her also immediately heal an amount of strife equal to her character level + her Charisma modifier. This move action does not preclude using a step that turn. Additionally, until your next turn, all of your attacks with simple melee weapons inflict as much strife as they do lethal or nonlethal damage (in addition to the normal 3 strife for taking damage).

Combat Reflexes: A battle dancer gains the Combat Reflexes feat as a bonus feat at 2nd level.

Improved Bonus Speed: A battle dancer gains +10 foot increases to their base land speed at 4th, 10th, 13th, 16th, and 19th levels.

Evasion (Ex): A battle dancer gains a rogue’s evasion ability at 3rd level.

Improved Dancer’s Strike: This ability does not require an action to activate it, and it affects all of their simple melee weapons (including unarmed strike).

Improved Multiweapon Training: A battle dancer gains the Improved Multiweapon Training feat as a bonus feat at 7th level.

Improved Dance of the Floating Step: This battle dancer ability can jump and land jumps as a part of this movement without sinking. Additionally, add a +10 insight bonus to all jump checks.

Greater Multiweapon Training: A battle dancer gains the Greater Multiweapon Training feat as a bonus feat at 11th level.

Improved Dance of the Crushing Python: The effect lasts until the battle dancer’s next turn, not their next action.

Improved Dance of Death’s Embrace: This battle dancer ability lasts for four rounds instead of one. Attacks against the designated target have threat type-66.

Improved Battle Dancer and Improved Monk

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