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How powerful are monks?

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13 replies to this topic

#1 mfcb95


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Posted 13 April 2019 - 01:20 AM

I mean in comparison to other classes, because I feel like they're underrated, but I could be wrong

Would love to know your thoughs


#2 Esadan


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Posted 13 April 2019 - 01:54 AM

Every class depends on the player. If you're a generic shitty "me me use powrful spel" roleplayer who just abuses their own identity for the sake of powergaming under the excuse of "its possible in the canon bro" then any class or character archetype can seem powerful. 


But to answer the question, I believe they're pretty competent. Obviously a monk would be able to excel in things like hand-to-hand combat, healing, and sustaining damage when in comparison to your normal everyday person. Are they underrated? Yes because nobody likes over-the-top asian shit and weeabos, not because they're somehow less powerful than a mage, druid or warlock for example. 

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#3 Riolidan


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Posted 13 April 2019 - 08:12 AM

Every class depends on the player. If you're a generic shitty "me me use powrful spel" roleplayer who just abuses their own identity for the sake of powergaming under the excuse of "its possible in the canon bro" then any class or character archetype can seem powerful. 

All Monk RPers do this.

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#4 Red Dorage

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 10:47 AM

about 5 power

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#5 Icetorn



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Posted 13 April 2019 - 11:01 AM

When Omaiwa mu Shindairu loved Nothing Personal, Kid really really much. And they had a baby. And that baby is the monk.

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#6 Nortwin



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Posted 13 April 2019 - 01:16 PM

Take for reference the guy who fought garrosh in VEB, he pretty much was one of ghe strongest pandaren monks and yet didnt stand a chance against him
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#7 Russian Ivan

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 02:22 PM

u guys sound like u afraid for ur warlock characters

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#8 Tazzy


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Posted 13 April 2019 - 03:14 PM

they aight

there's stronger classes but they aight


#9 Destruin



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Posted 13 April 2019 - 04:40 PM

Decently strong, but some of their kit like expansive use of jadefire, and jade fist isnt even usable by the player.(Im not saying u should use jade fist, it literally has only had 2 practitioners in lore) Watching from Jojo Ironbrow trying head butt through different materials, and Taran zhu fighting against a non-magical Garrosh. They arent the strongest, just something about as strong as you are skilled in thinking of applying your abilities. Speed is their greatest asset. 

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#10 Russian Ivan

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 07:25 PM

garrosh had plot-armor tho

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#11 Titiantree


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Posted 14 April 2019 - 01:53 PM

i think this question would be better answered with some revision to the actual question itself; who is the monk?

#12 Rebo Oldmeme

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 05:35 PM

This would be like asking "How powerful are Warriors" and then using the feats of Varian and Grom 1 shotting a Fel Reaver and Greater Pit Lord respectively, or how powerful are Shamans comparing them to Thrall.

Every class has repersentation in Lore in which they do insanely powerful stuff no RP-er should ever claim to be able to do, the power of your character should only be compared by their experience and dictated skill, to me it comes down to how powerful you think your character is and how you present it.


For example if I had two RPers fighting each other and they both claimed to be expert swords man and one of them emotes "I cleave with my sword destroying his block" and the other emotes "I take a step forward bring my sword forward and parrying the blow force the blade to the side allowing it to follow the length of my weapon as I bring the pommel forward to bash into his head to try and daze my opponent" I'm obviously going to give more credence to what the second guy said because the way he explained his character using their skill made me think of them as an actual Swords man vs "I hit the guy" kinda RPer

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#13 Rifampin33



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Posted 14 April 2019 - 05:37 PM

I'd say paladins but with unarmed combat, minor elemental abilities and chi + the celestials in place of the Light; they're both generally on the "good" side be it lawful or chaotic, have a disciplined approach and use their respective power sources to heal and empower themselves physically. Probably the best example of this is Exarch Akama in the "Circle the Wagons" quest; he uses the Light to empower two sickles to fight off Shadowmoon marauders not unlike a monk empowering their fists or minor weapons with chi. Akama's scene here also mirrors monks' origin story in that it involves the use of humble means (fists, sickles, sticks etc.) empowered by an internally cultivated power (chi or one's connection to the Light) in response to adversity. They both rely on the practitioner's belief in their ability: "Others do not believe they can shatter wood. You do." Taran Zhu pointed to a spot a finger's length beyond the stone slab. "Place your doubt here. Strike through to it." 

The differences are largely to do with their specific martial traditions and the discourse around their power sources. Paladins are more wont to see themselves as humble agents of a cosmic force that's imbued them with it even though it IS about their belief in their ability to use it. Monks explicitly recognize chi as an internal power they have to cultivate and meditate on etc. before can even project it outward. Paladins were also derived from an existing class elite, noble warriors whereas monks basically started as a peasant revolt and that's really reflected in their fantasy. 


For themes and inspiration, I'd usually defer to some WoW-adjusted jianghu/wuxia elements and Qigong for training/discipline. Using the latter in particular helps establish some limits and actually establish a monk that's well-within the class fantasy (because ultimately that's what they've been based on). The Monkey King lore with Fu Zan, for instance, mirrors the story of Sun Wukong and his staff. 


Some documented monk abilities (and suggestions): 

Overall, monks are pretty interesting and competent. They managed to overthrow the Mogu--Titanic soul and flesh shapers twice their size--despite being a rag-tag coalition of former slaves. It'd be doing them a disservice to nerf them IC because some people go too far and watch too much Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. 

1. Resistance to toxins and diseases

It's reasonable to assume your average monk can employ chi to different degrees to enhance their metabolism of toxins, magical afflictions and management of infection with Ting being an extreme example. Tastefully, it could probably be used to resist wound infection, temporary noxious magical effects and natural venoms. I'd say RP it out in conjunction with whoever is causing the effect and go with whatever's the most interesting/conducive to mutual enjoyment. 



2. Improved constitution and stamina  

  • "The White Tiger's isolation had not made him angry or bitter. It had simply made him eager to help. He guided Kang and the other novice monks in the ways of strength-not simply the strength of raw power, but the strength of endurance. "Look to the little life you can find in these heights," Xuen told him, "and you will know strength." 

Also Brewmasters. The fact that monks tend toward lighter armor also suggests this. Tastefully, I think it can be used to prolong IC combat despite taking hits so there's a more interesting back and forth. Knocking out, say, a Tauren monk with one punch is plausibly not gonna happen. 



3. They're pretty quick, strong and have an almost a casual air to combat

  • "Pandaren monks arrayed in straight ranks dominated the center. They worked through exercises,
    shadowboxing with blinding speed. Trolls were not strangers to unarmed combat, but since they were
    ganglier, their techniques did not match the discipline and control the monks displayed. Around the
    edges, at various points, other monks fought with swords and spears, polearms and bows. A single
    blow with just a stick would have humbled a Stormwind warrior shut up in a steel carapace. Were it
    not for the flash of sunlight off razored edges, Vol'jin doubted he would have followed much of the
    blurred weapons' work."


It's well-documented that monk swiftness is very much a thing but it's clear from the quote above that chi can significantly enhance blows and weapon durability a la Akama. I'd say being able to rattle someone in plate with a blow--even barehanded--could be within the realm of tastefulness. Once it gets into the range of nuking tanks with your fists it's a little ridiculous but blocking a sword with a staff or even a common household object wouldn't be too farfetched either. 


  • "A Zandalari warrior charged him, sword raised for a murderous slash. The monk twisted left. The
    blade whistled past. It returned in a crosscut. The monk grabbed the troll's wrist and spun so they
    faced the same direction. The troll's sword arm straightened and locked against the pandaren's
    stomach. The monk twisted his right wrist and the troll's knees buckled. Before he could go down,
    however, the monk's elbow blurred upward. The troll gurgled as the blow shattered his jaw and
    crushed his throat.The little monk skipped forward, unconcerned. Vol' j in darted toward him, the bloody blade coming
    up and around. Unaware of a troll's ability to recover quickly from nonlethal wounds, the monk had
    taken the thrashing behind him as the sounds of death. Instead, they were the harbinger of an angry
    troll gathering himself to strike."


The monk here is, admittedly, selected by Taran Zhu but I think the idea that that should be the strict limiter of in-universe ability is sorta silly; you can't expect a novel (whose purpose is to tell a story) to explicitly figure/delimit every aspect of the universe. I think the above quote is probably a good example of what could happen to someone charging at a well-trained monk without the adequate finesse or caution. Given the emphasis on balance and internal peace (as evidenced by the "casual" air to combat), disrupting that internal peace could be a way to cripple a monk IC. 


Vol'jin, having trained to be the living antithesis of a monk (shadow hunters embody chaos etc.) , managed to do this with a few weeks of training: 

  • As Taran Zhu had instructed, Vol'jin cocked his fist. His eyes narrowed. He visualized the Zandalari's doubt as a shimmering ball. It sank beneath the troll's face, lodging right behind his eyes.Nostrils flaring, Vol'jin drove his fist through the Zandalari's face, smashing bone shards through the doubt. 


Granted he was already a pretty skilled combatant and had experience with manipulating spirit energy. That's probably the case for a lot of characters who become monks, though. Context is important. A former Night elf Sentinel could do this, I'd wager. 


I think it's also important to realize that "balance" isn't always JUST about being serene and stoic. There's still a sense of flow and internal peace involved when being a rowdy brewmaster or Huojin but instead of being cultivated via meditation there's more activity/practice to it. 


4. Probably have some sort of environmental sense--quasi-shamanism? 

  • "The monks ranged to the left and right, moving curiously with the landscape and yet apart from it.
    Save for the armor he wore, the one closest to Vol'jin could have been out gathering herbs. He moved
    outside the rhythms of battle, not yet engaged and not long to be allowed that detachment."  


Given how chi is spirit and spirit is the medium shamans use to communicate with the elements there's probably an emphasis on knowing or intuiting the environment in monk training. There's a balanced, casual feel to their movements here that suggests some cultivated, internal knowledge of the land they use to their advantage. Monks are demonstrably in a tizzy if they get enclosed, though. 


It's sort of a theme in wuxia and Feng Shui to cultivate a relationship to nature with practice and given Shaohao's peak mastery involved "becoming one with the land" it's not too far-fetched to suggest there's an a quasi-shamanism or geomancy involved with some more advanced monk training too. Jade Lightning, Wind, Breath of Fire, Spinning Fire Blossom all have clear elemental flavor but it appears to be the monk transmuting their chi into the elemental effect or using Chi to effect it by some means. Interaction with elemental beings is also a clear possibility, particularly in Pandaria where the elements are so chockfull of spirit that even Maraad could interact with them. 


Taran Zhu is also fond of analogies and allegories when training his pupils (see the bow example below). What's a better allegory for the struggle for inner balance than the dynamic chaos of the elements? 


Imo, it's a potential source of tasteful flavor in combat but metagaming or absurd foolery (doing jutsu or w/e) as pitfalls. I still prefer this over a more conservative interpretation just because it links up nicely to an explanation of monk elemental abilities while exploring chi/the wilds/the elements and allowing for creative freedom. 


5. Racial Junk 


It's pretty common to assert that non-Pandaren should be pretty weak monks or w/e because they haven't been training as long etc. That sort of ignores previous martial and magical training the character in question might've had. I point to Vol'jin, (god almighty) the Jadefire Masters and the slew of monk followers that seem to be doing just fine. I don't wanna belittle the rigor of monk training but if someone is physically adept and does the work they can probably be pretty decent in 2-3 years,


I like the idea that being a monk of the Pandaren tradition is borders on being all-consuming and/or precludes not being bound to some other transcendent magical duty. I don't think it works for devout, long-standing druids to become monks; in that case, I'd say that shifting your relationship to the Wilds cuts you off from some of the higher-tier powers. I can see a former druid embodying the more animalistic aspects of Pandaren martial arts (Tiger Tiger Style essentially), doing a weak barkskin or doing more effective Jade Wind if they try but no hard shapeshifting etc. 


I think the other reasonable backgrounds are probably warriors, fallen paladins, rogues (w/e that means), priests, shamans and hunters. Frankly, the idea of a monk with an animal companion's pretty neat. I'd say the shaman character'd willingly choose to cultivate internal spirit while stifling their relationship to the elements but not excising it entirely so you get a monk that leans toward geomancy, say. 


6. Chi

Spirit energy you cultivate. Drawing from in-game stuff (because there's fuck-all else), it looks like you can weave it into more complex spells, translocations, wards and barriers with enough dedicated practice; I'd wager there's a sort of "Chi sorcery" for that sort of thing that requires lots of practice and training in Pandaren geomancy/cosmology etc. almost to the exclusion of other disciplines. Levels of the "Diffuse Magic" and "Paralysis" abilities are pretty reasonable to incorporate for a decently trained monk. I'd say it's a bad idea to extend it too far beyond that.


The Jadefire masters are WILD and it definitely pushes past tastefulness in a public RP setting but it does beg the question why and how non-Pandaren could've have canonically achieved that level of power. 


Some documented monk limits/perspectives: 

1. Subtle, calm power: it's sort of accepted that serenity and subtlety are a part of the monk feel; the Pandaren carefully evading the Orc and the Human in the Mists cinematic sort of exemplifies that. This excerpt Sheilun's lore sums it up a lot too: 



  • "It feels strange to call Sheilun powerful, does it not? You could not use it to flatten a mountain with a single blow, nor could you use it to burn a thousand enemies alive with a single thought. Others might find that disappointing. But you are a monk. You know power takes many forms. Others desire the might of a waterfall crashing down on the rocks. You seek the calm, inevitable force of a deep river, the kind that carves canyons into the toughest stone and carries away warriors on its currents without so much as a ripple. Sheilun is the embodiment of that idea."'
                         -Master Xunsu, Mistweaver of the Terrace of Endless Spring

Similarly, the Monkey King was granted Fu Zan because of his ability to AVOID conflict. Granted, this can be abused with the frequent dodging etc. but it should be assumed/understood that when fighting a monk landing a blow isn't actually gonna be super easy--it's sort of their class fantasy to be quick and nimble and, arguably, you'd be a pretty inept monk if you just tripped over your dick into every blow for OOC cred. 


2. Martial practices have a philosophical/internal cultivation beyond just killing etc.

  • "Fighters, but not an army." Taran Zhu pressed his paws together at his breastbone. "We are few
    and spread across the continent. We are Pandaria's only line of defense, but we are more than that as
    well. Our training in the martial arts imparts to us more than just the ability to kill. For example, we
    study archery not for its martial aspect — we study it for balance. It is a means by which we can
    connect two points through an intervening space, having to manage and balance distance and
    momentum, arc and the breeze, and the arrow's nature. We defend Pandaria and defend the balance." 


Practices like archery reflect the internal work a monk has to do to use their abilities. The balancing of internal/external energies, the clearing of doubt etc. I think this demonstrates that different monk traditions/philosophies bear their own, valid means of achieving this; Tushui or Serpent Style monks probably emphasize meditation and visualization whereas Tiger Style or Huojin monks emphasize active movement etc. Qigong is a great source of flavor and inspiration for this particularly Neigong and Yijin Jing


3. They're tough but be smart


  • Tyrathan looked up at Chen, his expression faintly haunted. "Can you imagine what would have
    happened had you burst in there and the two on the floor weren't stuck like that? The one in the corner
    also? They'd have cut you down and then they would have killed me." 


I don't particularly like the idea that a character that features prominently in the lore is necessarily exceptionally powerful or that their skillset is definitive of all skillsets. It defines them into being a Special Snowflake™ and ignores the different ways culture, ability, affinity etc. can, say, make a character better at conjuring cupcakes than Jaina Proudmoore without being the most powerful mage ever. 

That said, Chen is a competent, well-known Brewmaster and there's doubt he could've solo'd a bunch of Zandalari warriors and a shaman. Reasonable. The elite Shado-Pan monks were also pretty overwhelmed by a flood of Zandalari despite being well-trained elites. Monks have limits. 




Monk abilities and powers haven't been as extensively documented as those of paladins for obvious reasons. A lot of what's gleaned and applied from in-game content has to be done through community convention, tastefulness and whatever metric for plausibility comes from those two. There's a lot of space with monks to explore WoW cosmology as well as the hazy that is chi/spirit manipulation with a neat Wuxia flavor.


In sum, Monks are basically peasant Chi paladins and most of them can probably take care of themselves under somewhat normal circumstances (i.e, Elwynn muggers are gonna have a bad time). Trying to use chi or monkhood as leverage in some juvenile OOC game of rock, paper, scissors is bad. Likewise, getting mad that a monk can cleanse, dodge,  take a punch (or several) or fracture your jaw with a blow is dumb too. They're fun, competent brawler and adventurer characters with reasonable longevity that get constantly ruined by powergaming text-PVP nerds. 

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#14 mfcb95


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Posted 16 April 2019 - 04:37 PM