Talk:Champion of the Forest (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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Thoughts[edit]

Great build. I think you want the Ascetic Hunter feat in there somewhere, unless bear warrior is somehow stacking with your monk levels (as the boost to 1d10 unarmed damage might seem to imply.)

Since you have both barbarian and monk levels, I'm assuming you switch from Lawful to not at some point. Not a big deal, but you might want to allude to it.

Bear Warrior is a nice class. Lately I've been trying to work "primeval," from Frostburn, into a build. Similar to bear warrior in many ways but with, I think, somewhat better numbers (a 6th-level dire lion primeval enjoys +18 Str/+10 Con/+6 Dex/+8 natural armor on top of -2 Int & Cha and +2 to Str, Con, Dex and Wis at baseline. Only twice per day, however. Another option would be to go shifter and take Weretouched Master (Eberron). You get your alternate form ability boosts, don't have to change your alignment, and can still grab the pounce ability by choosing a lion werecreature form.S1Q3T3 07:57, 11 May 2009 (MDT)

Looks like I had started with one build and ended up with another. I somehow managed to hit the 2d10 Medium monk damage cap. I have to redo the build anyway to take into account Skip's article. TWF + FoB isn't allowed. —Sledged (talk) 14:43, 13 May 2009 (MDT)
The unarmed damage thing may be less of a problem than I thought. I just today realized that given the level-based damage progression for non-monks given in the Superior Unarmed Strike description, any character with 3 levels of FoF and without monk levels hits the cap at 16th level, since 16th-20th level characters with no monk levels deal 2d6 base before the FoF (2d6 --> 2d8 --> 2d10). The FoF damage boosts apply to your "unarmed strike"; it doesn't have to be monkish. So you could get rid of the two levels of monk and sub in more ranger or warshaper or whatever.S1Q3T3 19:03, 13 May 2009 (MDT)
Ah, yes. Now it comes back to me. The only reason I had that level of monk was to insure that the unarmed strikes could be enhanced as natural weapons (specifically, Improved Natural Attack and morphic weapons). By default unarmed strikes can only be enhanced as manufactured weapons. The monk's unarmed strike is the only class feature that makes an exception to that rule. One could infer that other classes like the psionic fist and fist of the forest (and feats like Superior Unarmed Strike) grant the same benefit, but I try to build optimizations on what's explicitly stated rather than what can be inferred. Otherwise I would have ditched the level of monk. Maybe I'll make a note under miscellaneous. —Sledged (talk) 22:05, 13 May 2009 (MDT)
I was reading Champions of Valor the other day, and I came across something that made me think of you. I think I remember you expressing frustration with the problems in combining the monk's flurry with the Two-Weapon Fighting feat. I may have found a work-around. A "Fangshields Ranger" substitution level (2nd) gives you Improved Natural Attack with the natural weapon of your choice. You see my devious plan? One level of Ranger for the skills, a monk level to give you your "natural weapon," and then a second level of monk to pick up INA at ECL 3.
The only wrinkle is that Fangshields Rangers have to be non-humanoid, so to use it in a build you have to limit your racial choices to non-humanoids -- a fairly ample list including Elan, Synads (Complete Psionic), Half-Giants, Broodguards (Savage Species), anthropomorphic animals (Savage Species), and so on.
This finesse, combined with my increasing reliance on the Slayer prestige class + Tashalatora feat, has fully won me over to your method of including ranger levels in monk builds. Their skill points are an asset too, especially for Broodguards, who are dumb as dirt.S1Q3T3 10:38, 24 December 2009 (MST)

Comment[edit]

Nice! I love the general idea. -- OptimizationFanatic 18:27, 18 March 2008 (MDT)

Monk's Belt[edit]

How about adding a Monk's Belt? From what I remember, it stacks with SUS, so you get additional monk abilities. --TK-Squared 11:45, 24 March 2008 (MDT)

The only benefit a monk's belt would grant is an extra +1 to AC and one more use of Stunning Fist because:
  • By the wording of both, it's questionable whether or not it stacks with SUS. On the WotC and ENWorld boards the general consensus is "no."
  • Even if it does stack, this build only has one monk level, so before the fist of the forest increases, the damage would be that of a 10-level monk (1d10), which is less than the damage SUS does at 16th-level (2d6).
  • Also, damage by monk level caps at 20th level (2d10 for a Medium character; epic monks do not get increased damage) which this build eventually hits.
I'd rather have the belt of giant strength +6. The higher strength helps off-set the attack penalties for TWF, FoB, and Snap Kick. The only reason the level of monk is there, is for flurry of blows and so that the unarmed strikes can be enhanced as natural attacks (Improved Natural Attack and the warshaper's morphic weapons). —Sledged (talk) 12:21, 24 March 2008 (MDT)

I Notice a Similarity...[edit]

This is a little like the Yet Another Monk Build, isn't it? I noticed you used FotF on both of these! --Sir Milo Teabag 11:31, 29 March 2008 (MDT)

Yup, it's a good class for optimizing unarmed strikes. Almost a little too good. —Sledged (talk) 12:49, 29 March 2008 (MDT)

XP Penalty?[edit]

The build mentions an XP penalty from 4th level onwards, but as a human, there isn't one at all. --Aarnott 09:20, 18 September 2008 (MDT)

The mention of the XP penalty is within the context of choosing orc over human. —Sledged (talk) 16:35, 18 September 2008 (MDT)
Ah -- I misread. --Aarnott 19:55, 18 September 2008 (MDT)
Rather than switch to orc and take Headlong Rush, you could take Battle Jumper from Unapproachable East. This allows you to treat any attack where you drop down on your opponent from 5 feet above or better as a charge attack and gives double damage when "charging" in this way. (Since any move that ends with jumping down counts as a charge, this also implies a "crooked charge"-like ability and the ability to charge over broken terrain.) Requires some Jump checks or some sort of "dancing up walls" ability, which doesn't seem to me a great disadvantage for what you get. But I have a soft spot for leaping around the battlefield.S1Q3T3 07:41, 11 May 2009 (MDT)

Comes Online When?[edit]

At what level is playing this build actually viable? Surgo 13:38, 18 September 2008 (MDT)

That's subject to opinion. At 7th-level, this build is nothing more than a ranger with a one-level dip into monk, so it depends on your opinion of such a build. However, given that (a) melee classes tend to be better than the other classes at the lowest levels, (b) you start with Power Attack which is one of the best feats for Str-based builds, and (c) you start with a 14 in all physical abilities (using the standard point buy), I'd say this build is online at 1st level. —Sledged (talk) 16:35, 18 September 2008 (MDT)

Unarmed damage[edit]

First of all, let me apologize for being late to the party; I only found this build yesterday. Second of all, it looks great, but I am confused about one thing. You continue to increase unarmed damage during some of the Bear Warrior and Warshaper levels. Where do those increases come from? I've looked at both classes, and neither of them say anything about unarmed damage, unless I'm missing something... --Martonimos 14:34, 26 June 2009 (MDT)

Warshaper advances its natural weapons. Bear Warrior, I'm not sure. --Aarnott 16:48, 26 June 2009 (MDT)
Unarmed damage for any character with Superior Unarmed Strike at 12th-level is 1d10, which increases to 2d6 at 16th-level (again for any character with the aforementioned feat). —Sledged (talk) 19:28, 26 June 2009 (MDT)
Ah, I see with the Warshaper now. But Superior Unarmed Strike also says monks simply get +4 to their level for Unarmed Strike damage. Which puts monks better off than other characters with the feat, but only if you advance purely in Monk or classes that stack with it. --Martonimos 03:02, 27 June 2009 (MDT)
Is there some sort of errata or FAQ that dealt with that? It does seem unfair that someone with a level of monk would do less damage than someone without, but this seems more like a house rule. Without that, the 20th level unarmed strike does 6d6 damage, if I'm not mistaken. --Martonimos 18:11, 29 June 2009 (MDT)
Here's how it breaks down: 16th-level character with Superior Unarmed Strike - 2d6. (The single level of monk becomes irrelevant after 12th-level.) Add three levels of fist of the forest - 2d10. Transforming into a Large creature - 4d8. Improved Natural Attack (unarmed strike) increases damage by another size (Huge) - 6d8. Warshaper's morphic weapons increases damage by yet another size (Gargantuan) - 8d8. —Sledged (talk) 20:58, 29 June 2009 (MDT)
I guess I'll take your word for it about the monk level. It still seems like a judgment call, but I doubt many DMs would argue with that logic. --Martonimos 17:54, 30 June 2009 (MDT)
What errata we have (check the second question) disagrees, unfortunately. The base damage of a level 1 monk with Superior Unarmed Strike would be 1d8, regardless of whether he was a 5th level character or 20th level character. Ghostwheel 19:15, 30 June 2009 (MDT)
FAQ is not errata. It is FAQ. --TK-Squared 21:06, 30 June 2009 (MDT)
FAQs are for clarification when the rules are unclear. The FAQ clarifies in this instance fairly clearly, and coincides with what the feat says--that *if* you are a monk, you *instead* deal damage as a monk 4 levels higher than you are, rather than use the table. Ghostwheel 23:48, 30 June 2009 (MDT)
I'm not saying you're WRONG, I'm saying the FAQ (which is notoriously contradictory normally) is not errata. --TK-Squared 00:00, 1 July 2009 (MDT)
Not only is it not errata, it's not official. There's no links or references to any official docs, no reference numbers from WotC customer service. Absolutely no traceability to anything official to support it. —Sledged (talk) 07:22, 1 July 2009 (MDT)
Perhaps it isn't errata or official, but it does agree with what the feat says. The feat says that if you have any levels in monk, you act as if your monk level was 4 higher instead of using the table before. Interpreting that it's one or the other, whichever is higher, is an assumption that isn't part of the feat. Ghostwheel 15:22, 1 July 2009 (MDT)
Rather than repeat your point over and over again ad infinitum, cite!
Special: If you are a monk, you instead deal unarmed damage as a monk four levels higher.
—Tome of Battle, Page 33
It does not give you the option of ignoring the special. It merely states you have to take it if you have levels in monk. Usual wording that allows you to choose comes with the word "may". --TK-Squared 17:38, 1 July 2009 (MDT)

Unarmed Off-hand[edit]

I don't believe you can use your unarmed attacks as both primary and off-hand (so you'd need another weapon for your off-hand attacks) since in the weapons listing it doesn't label it as a double weapon, even if it doesn't specify what part of your body you hit with. 76.169.236.139 18:12, 26 June 2009 (MDT)

Check the FAQ [1]. You totally can. Specifically:
When using an unarmed strike as an off-hand attack, the monk suffers all the usual attack penalties from two-weapon fighting (see Table 8–10 in the PH) and the monk adds only half her Strength bonus (if any) to damage if the off-hand unarmed strike hits.
—3.5e FAQ
--Aarnott 18:43, 26 June 2009 (MDT)
Actually, Skip's article says that monks don't suffer off-hand penalties with unarmed strikes. —Sledged (talk) 19:28, 26 June 2009 (MDT)
But that says nothing about making offhand attacks with an unarmed strike while your primary is also unarmed strikes. It just explains what happens if you use a weapon in your primary hand, and make unarmed attacks with your offhand. 76.169.236.139 20:20, 26 June 2009 (MDT)
Right. But where did you find the rules that an unarmed strike cannot be used as both a primary and offhand weapon? It is written the same as any other weapon entry, so it should follow the same rules. Being a light weapon, you can wield two of them. I'm sure a multi-armed character could wield even more unarmed strikes. See: Unarmed Strike. --Aarnott 20:36, 26 June 2009 (MDT)
Where do you find the rules that an unarmed strike can be used as both a primary and offhand weapon? Every creature has one unarmed attack--that is, any attack that makes use of any non-specified part of their body, a knee, a fist, anything that isn't specified as its own natural weapon. A thri-keen doesn't have extra unarmed strikes just because it has 4 arms. Because each has only one "set" of unarmed strikes (everything that falls under things that are not defined as their own natural weapon) and because it is not listed as a double weapon, one cannot use it as both a primary and offhand weapon. 76.169.236.139 03:50, 27 June 2009 (MDT)
You got it... Well half of it. The rules are extremely vague in this area. Unarmed strikes can be considered natural weapons and the text somewhat suggests that an unarmed strike requires the whole body of a character (like a natural attack, you only have 1 claw per claw you have, 1 bite per fanged head, 1 unarmed strike per body). The rules also explain unarmed strikes as a manufactured attack. Indeed, there is no doubt that you can use two-weapon fighting with an unarmed strike and a kama. You can also cast greater magic weapon on an unarmed strike (seriously!). Since it is a weapon, and treated as a light weapon at that, you should be able to wield one unarmed strike per arm (just like you could wield 1 shortsword per arm). It boils down to a glaring contradiction of how natural attacks work and how manufactured attacks work.
How can this contradiction be solved? Well, unfortunately there is no completely correct answer RAW. Cust Serv has ruled both ways in the past (which isn't surprising). I take the approach that unarmed strikes follow the rules of manufactured weapons much more closely than natural weapons. It seems like the natural weapon addition was just a clumsy way to explain that they are used by the body. Since for most purposes they act as manufactured weapons, they count as light weapons (which you can wield more than one of), and they are for sure two-weaponable with other weapons, why not allow it? The rules seem to lean towards it (besides the line of text that says you can use any part of your body for an unarmed strike). In fact, they immediately break a fundamental rule of natural attacks (they use BAB). --208.90.100.204 07:25, 27 June 2009 (MDT)
First off, I agree with you for the most part. The only reason that I'd say that one couldn't twf with only unarmed strikes if for the reason that you mentioned above; because you get 1 set of unarmed strikes (one weapon of it) per body. The light part simply means that you could combine them as an offhand weapon when you don't have/want to use another one. An example might be someone with Superior Unarmed Strike and a two-handed weapon. They could make a full attack with their two-handed weapon, and then continue making off-hand attacks with unarmed strikes as part of a full attack. This follows all the rules of a manufactured weapon. The only instance that they'd be considered a natural weapon is if you were limited to a single attack with it (assuming here that it's used as a secondary natural weapon), as well as taking -5 (or -2 with Multiattack) and dealing half strength damage. Because they are both a manufactured and natural weapon, you can use them either way, but couldn't treat it as two weapons all by itself--again, because you only get one unarmed strike weapon as a single creature. 76.169.236.139 07:58, 27 June 2009 (MDT)
Could the author put a rebuttal with evidence to why he has the stats that he currently does? Since the build doesn't come out to the numbers that are on the page atm, and I don't feel like starting a revert war. Furthermore, this build doesn't supply Greater Mighty Wallop on its own, so the spell shouldn't be part of the main build. Ghostwheel 14:51, 1 July 2009 (MDT)

Alignment[edit]

I like the idea but I thought barbarian needed to be choatic and monks lawful... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by SinjinStormcrow (talkcontribs) 19:46, 27 October 2009 (MST). Please sign your posts!

Flurry of Blows[edit]

You can't use flurry of blows in combination with anything other than Unarmed Strikes/Monk Weapons. So if you were to flurry you couldn't attack with your other natural attacks (Claw/Bite/other).

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