Iconic Design: Of Misdirection and Brandy

Welcome to Iconic Design, Private Sanctuary’s source for innovative and evocative character builds for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, we’re going to be looking at a build for a dwarven unchained monk.

Originally, I was going to do another Ultimate Intrigue build for the final installment of Intriguing April, but after sitting in front of my computer for nearly three days, completely unable to cobble together something that worked, I decided, “To heck with it!” and am doing something completely different.

I’m known for my kitsune characters, but did you know I have a dwarf monk? Did you know that I’ve never built an unchained monk for the site before?

I think my problem is solved.

My brain is completely fried, folks, so I’m going to just dive on into this article. Dwarf monk. Boom.

Early Levels (1–7)

  • Classes: unchained monk 7
  • Feats: Combat Reflexes (Bonus), Improved Unarmed Strike (Bonus), Stunning Fist (Bonus), Toughness (Bonus), Dirty Fighting (1st), Dodge (Bonus), Pummeling Style (3rd), Improved Reposition (5th), Improved Trip (Bonus), Pummeling Style (7th)
  • Abilities: evasion, fast movement +20, flurry of bows (one attack), ki pool, ki strike (cold iron/magic/silver), still mind, style strike (1/round), unarmed strike (1d8)
  • Ki Powers: sudden speed (4th), elemental fury (6th)
  • Style Strikes: flying kick (5th)

The unchained monk is super optimized to punch people in the face, so that’s what I intend to do. I took the unstoppable dwarf trait from Inner Sea Races, so I get Toughness as a bonus feat, which is super helpful. I’m also picking up Dirty Fighting as my first feat for several reasons: first, its super thematic for a drunken dwarf monk (I don’t need no archetypes to be an alcoholic!) and second, I need to qualify for Improved Reposition, which I can’t take as a monk bonus feat. So that’s what I’ll do.

Ki power wise, I want sudden speed and elemental fury. Elemental fury gives me more damage on a decent duration and sudden speed allows me to overcome my greatest weakness: slow and steady. So now I move like a rocked. In terms of style strikes, flying kick is amazingly cool. Its like mini monk pounce at Level 5. I’ll take it.

I don’t know if its been said enough, but as someone who’s actually played the Unchained Monk, MAN is the new flurry of blows amazingly good. You hit ALL the time with it. I will even go as far as to piss off the haters by saying, “Yes, it is worth losing the good Will save progression for.” Because frankly, my Will saves aren’t bad; I’ve got +2 or +3 at Level 1, which is doable.

Speaking of doable, let’s look at the mid-levels.

Mid Levels (8 –14)

  • Classes: unchained monk 14
  • Feats: Combat Reflexes (Bonus), Improved Unarmed Strike (Bonus), Stunning Fist (Bonus), Toughness (Bonus), Dirty Fighting (1st), Dodge (Bonus), Pummeling Style (3rd), Improved Reposition (5th), Improved Trip (Bonus), Pummeling Style (7th), Dimensional Agility (9th), Ki Throw (Bonus), Dimensional Assault (11th), Dimensional Dervish (13th), Improved Ki Throw (Bonus)
  • Abilities: evasion, fast movement +40, flurry of bows (two attacks), improved evasion, ki pool, ki strike (cold iron/lawful/magic/silver), still mind, style strike (1/round), tongue of the sun and moon, unarmed strike (1d8)
  • Ki Powers: sudden speed (4th), elemental fury (6th), abundant step (8th), qinggong power: restoration (10th), qinggong power: barkskin (12th), qinggong power: blood crow strike (14th)
  • Style Strikes: flying kick (5th), shattering punch (9th), hammer blow (13th)

So basically, my build is designed to let my dwarf teleport around Dragonball Z style while beating the crap out of things. At Level 8, I pick up abundant step immediately and then take Dimensional Agility. With my 10th level feat, I take Ki Throw and then Dimensional Assault, Dimensional Dervish, and Improved Ki Throw.

So basically, here’s what happens:

  • Full-Attack: I use a swift action to activate abundant step, allowing me to teleport 60 feet and full attack, taking a 5-foot step between each attack.
  • Flurry of blows is now part of a full-attack for the unchained monk, so I can flurry during this attack.
  • Part 1, I trip my target with improved trip. This should be pretty easy with my full-attack-bonus flurry of blows. When I trip my target, I can put him in any space I’m adjacent to that I want, or I can try to bull rush him into the space of one of his allies. If I don’t want to trip or can’t trip the target, I can just take two attacks in part 2 instead.
  • Part 2, when I hit the target of my flurry, I basically deal double damage thanks to hammer blow. I can also ignore DR with the attack if I want to.
  • Part 3, I can spend ki to either make another attack or deal an extra 1d6 points of elemental damage.

Its sort of crazy. Let’s finish the build off in the end game and see where it goes.

Endgame (15+)

  • Classes: unchained monk 20
  • Feats: Combat Reflexes (Bonus), Improved Unarmed Strike (Bonus), Stunning Fist (Bonus), Toughness (Bonus), Dirty Fighting (1st), Dodge (Bonus), Pummeling Style (3rd), Improved Reposition (5th), Improved Trip (Bonus), Pummeling Style (7th), Dimensional Agility (9th), Ki Throw (Bonus), Dimensional Assault (11th), Dimensional Dervish (13th), Improved Ki Throw (Bonus), Dimensional Savant (15th), Improved Critical (17th), Critical Focus (19th)
  • Abilities: evasion, fast movement +40, flurry of bows (two attacks), improved evasion, ki pool, ki strike (cold iron/lawful/magic/silver), still mind, style strike (1/round), tongue of the sun and moon, unarmed strike (1d8)
  • Ki Powers: sudden speed (4th), elemental fury (6th), abundant step (8th), qinggong power: restoration (10th), qinggong power: barkskin (12th), qinggong power: blood crow strike (14th), FREEBIE (16th), FREEBIE (18th), FREEBIE (20th)
  • Style Strikes: flying kick (5th), shattering punch (9th), hammer blow (13th), elbow smash (17th)

Like many builds, the core of my dwarf monk comes on-line in the middle levels, so there isn’t much that I really need at high levels. Compared to most of my builds, this one is still very much a product in motion; I’m messing around with feats that I like, trying to see what I can get to work and what I think the build needs. For example, I think this build could use Power Attack; I think I’m going to be hurting for damage, and Improved Reposition didn’t end up being as important as I thought it would be. Don’t be surprised if you see this build again in the future after I mess around with it some more.

So, what do you think? How would you fine-tune this build? Or is there something you still want to see? Leave your questions and comments below, and I’ll see you next week for another round of Guidance and Iconic Design! Take care.

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alex’s Twitter, @AlJAug.

Alex Augunas

Alexander Augunas lives outside of Philadelphia, USA where he tries to make a living as an educator. When he's not shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, Alex is a freelance writer for esteemed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game publishers such as Paizo, Inc, Radiance House, Raging Swan Press, and more, and also acts as a co-host and blogger on the Know Direction Network, where he has earned the nickname, "The Everyman Gamer." Recently, Alex has forayed into the realm of self-publishing through his company, Everyman Gaming, LLC.

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