Monday, April 19, 2010

4e PHB3 review part two, and how I used 4e Monks in a 1e module

The second part of my PHB3 review was just published over at the Eye of the Vortex.  I go over each class in detail, including one of my new favorites, the monk.  I made a couple of level 8 monks to stick into the 1e module Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan that I am running my players through.  There is a room in that module with two seemingly dead but perfectly preserved bodies, and a flask on the table between them with some powder in it.  The two are monks, using a magical potion of sleep to enhance their ability to suspend their bodily processes and appear to be dead while still remaining aware of their surroundings. 

This turned into a great encounter, as one party member reconstituted the potion and drank a little bit of it in an attempt to identify it, promptly putting himself to sleep for 5,000 years, while the other two party members in the room planned on looting the bodies of the two monks.  Hammer, the warforged barbarian, decided to just behead the bodies where they lay to prevent them from animating, but the monk he attempted to behead easily won initiative and proceeded to kick the party's butt all over the place.  In the end, only the vials of liquid light (see my last post) that Hammer was carrying ended up saving them - he succeeded in splashing both monks with the substance, and even though the monks rapidly reduced himself and Vomar the bugbear cleric below zero HP and welcomed them to unconsciousness, the monks had to deal with the suffocating liquid light.  Beautiful Bob managed to wake up from his slumber several thousand years early with the help of his friend the Gibbering Mouther (who used its psychic bond with Bob to lead him out of the dream world) and negotatiated with the monks, trading them the knowledge of how to remove the liquid light for the safe passage of the party.

One thing I learned is that a couple of monks are a deadly foe for a lower level party (the party just hit level 5 at the end of the session), with the combination of high damage output and incredible maneuverability.  The flurry of blows class feature really makes the damage add up and sends people flying around the battlefield.  Good times!


  1. What levels are your players? And you built monster monks or PC monks?

  2. Like I said, the players just hit level 5 at the end of that session. They were all level 4 during the encounter. I just used the character builder to make two level 8 monks. I think the full party could have handled them but with one party member off exploring another part of the dungeon and a second asleep on the floor, the barbarian and cleric didn't have much of a chance

  3. I don't know how 4E balances combat, but in past editions, you could get away with throwing monsters of a total Hit Dice equal to the total PC levels.

    That is, if you have 6 PCs of Level 4, they have 24 levels. You can throw 6 Ogres at them (who are also 4 HD, so 24 total HD).

    However, the farther you get from exact parity, the easier or harder the fight is. For example, the above party would probably have no trouble at all fighting 24 Orcs (1 HD) and would be absolutely trounced by a single 24 HD monster.

    In this case, you have 4 PCs at 4th level, and 2 enemies at 8th level. So it matches up, technically.

    And just try taking a group of 5 1st-Level PCs against a single 5th level Magic-User. One Fireball or even Sleep and the whole group is dead.

    I've heard that 4E is at least that restrictive in power level.

  4. I can barely play two monsters; I can't imagine playing two player characters.

  5. I don't think I have ever played a monk, in any edition. Now I think it just might be my next character.



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