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D&D 3E
Vampire Monks 
30th-Mar-2006 06:37 pm
valar morghulis
Edited to Add: I've figured out how to break this: Special Monk Weapon (e.g. Quarterstaff), with the ability Necrotic Focus from the Libris Mortis. (That is, if non-core books are allowed in the game.) Allows energy drain spells to be delivered via manufactured weapons.

One overpowered NPC, here we come.

Hmm. I thought I had this question down, but now I'm not sure.

Somebody on this forum recently said that a vampire monk could not combine its energy drain attack with its regular unarmed strike. I don't think this is true.

Monk and Vampire links.

The monk description says, "A monk’s unarmed strike is treated both as a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons."

It does not explicitly say that an unarmed strike is a natural weapon. However, this seems pretty intuitive to me. Thoughts on this?

From the vampire description: "Energy Drain (Su)--Living creatures hit by a vampire’s slam attack (or any other natural weapon the vampire might possess) gain two negative levels. For each negative level bestowed, the vampire gains 5 temporary hit points. A vampire can use its energy drain ability once per round."

So the way I see it is you could have a vampire monk attacking with a Flurry of Blows every round and Energy Draining on the first attack that hits. Perhaps not the most efficient thing in the world, but certainly possible, and certainly combinable.

Of course, back in 3.0, vampires had to be chaotic evil, so it was a moot point anyway. But now they can be lawful! Huzzah!

(I have a vampire monk NPC in a world I'm building at the moment.)

While I'm at it here, does anyone know if a monk can effectively take the Two-Weapon Fighting feats?
30th-Mar-2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
I think that a Vampires Slam attack and a Monks unarmed attack are two separate things. Common sense would rule that a Monks unarmed strike would effectively trump (and take on any additional aspects of) the Vampire's Slam, but balancing mechanics would dictate otherwise.
30th-Mar-2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
I'll concede (probably) on the "balancing" thing.

However--read the ability description!

--Living creatures hit by a vampire’s slam attack (or any other natural weapon the vampire might possess)

Slam attacks are not the only vehicle with which to deliver an energy drain attack.
31st-Mar-2006 12:00 am (UTC)
And if "Improved Unarmed Strike" read "This character now treats his unarmed attacks as natural weapons" instead of "This character's unarmed attacks now deal lethal damage", then I would agree with you.
31st-Mar-2006 12:06 am (UTC)
Oh, were unarmed strikes never natural weapons? Got it.

Sorry I was so stubborn about it, but I did so love the idea....oh, well. ;-)
31st-Mar-2006 12:07 am (UTC)
It'd be a fantastic idea if it worked. I can't blame you.

Just like I wanted Quick Reconnoiter to stack with Deft Strike. >_>
31st-Mar-2006 12:17 am (UTC)
So does the Spot check you make to use Deft Strike *have* to be a move action, then?
31st-Mar-2006 12:19 am (UTC)
Standard action, I believe, and yes. It doesn't just say "make a Spot check", it says "make a Spot check as a standard action".
31st-Mar-2006 02:20 am (UTC)
Unarmed strike is not a natural weapon, no.

Despite many players I have attempting to cajole me into ruling otherwise.

I read an eight bit theatre twink article that started with "First, you have to convince your DM that unarmed strike is a natural weapon.."

Allowing this just opens up too many issues.
31st-Mar-2006 03:40 am (UTC)
Although unarmed strike counts as a natural weapon for Greater Magic Fang, right? (That must be what the "either natural or manufactured" clause is meant to deal with.)
31st-Mar-2006 06:00 am (UTC)
Normally, I don't think so.. but I'm not sure what this "natural or manufactured" bit is...
31st-Mar-2006 07:36 am (UTC)
It means that yeah, it can.

It's treated as either/or for the purposes of being enchanted, but ONLY for being enchanted.
1st-Apr-2006 04:08 am (UTC)
Yeah, that makes the most sense.
1st-Apr-2006 01:44 pm (UTC)
The only reason I know this for a fact is that I tried a similar build.

No half-fiend monk/dervish for me :(
31st-Mar-2006 07:35 am (UTC)
It says so specifically (or at least for magic fang, and that's the same) under the monk class description stuff p41 3.5 PHB.
30th-Mar-2006 11:58 pm (UTC)
"You never get extra
attacks from a high base attack bonus with natural weaponry,
and the monk’s flurry ability is another way to get extra attacks
from your base attack bonus. Please note that a vampire monk
using its unarmed strike ability is not using its slam attack and
cannot drain energy."

From the official FAQ.

Yes they can take TWF. Again from the official FAQ:

The description of the flurry of blows ability says
there’s no such thing as a monk attacking with an off-hand
weapon during a flurry of blows. What does that mean,
exactly? Can the monk make off-hand attacks in addition to
flurry attacks?
Actually, the text to which you refer appears in the entry
for unarmed strikes. When a monk uses her unarmed strike
ability, she does not suffer any penalty for an off-hand attack,
even when she has her hands full and attacks with her knees
and elbows, using the flurry of blows ability to make extra
attacks, or both.
The rules don’t come right out and say that a monk can’t
use an unarmed strike for an off-hand strike (although the exact
wording of the unarmed strike ability suggests otherwise), and
no compelling reason why a monk could not do so exists.
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 Player’s Handbook) and the monk adds
only half her Strength bonus (if any) to damage if the off-hand
unarmed strike hits.
To add an off-hand attack to a flurry of blows, stack
whatever two-weapon penalty the monk has with the penalty (if
any) from the flurry. Attacks from the flurry have the monk’s
full damage bonus from Strength, but the off-hand attack gains
only half Strength bonus to damage. If the off-hand attack is a
weapon, that weapon isn’t available for use in the flurry (if it
can be used in a flurry at all, see the previous question). For
example, a 4th-level monk with the Two-Weapon Fighting feat
and a Strength score of 14 decides to use a flurry of blows and
decides to throw in an off-hand attack as well. The monk has a
base attack bonus of +3 and a +2 Strength bonus. With a flurry,
the character can make two attacks, each at +3 (base +3, –2
flurry, +2 Strength). An unarmed strike is a light weapon, so
the monk suffers an additional –2 penalty for both the flurry
and the off-hand attack, and the monk makes three attacks,
each at an attack bonus of +1. The two attacks from the flurry
are primary attacks and add the monk’s full Strength bonus to
damage of +2. The single off-hand attack adds half the monk’s
Strength bonus to damage (+1).
If the monk in our example has two sais to use with the
flurry, plus the off-hand attack, she can use both in the flurry
(in which case she must make the off-hand attack with an
unarmed strike) or one sai for the off-hand attack and one with
the flurry. The sai used in the off-hand attack is not available
for the flurry and vice versa.

continued with next question:.....
30th-Mar-2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
Can a monk fight with two weapons? Can she combine
a two-weapon attack with a flurry of blows? What are her
penalties on attack rolls?

A monk can fight with two weapons just like any other
character, but she must accept the normal penalties on her
attack rolls to do so. She can use an unarmed strike as an offhand
weapon. She can even combine two-weapon fighting with
a flurry of blows to gain an extra attack with her off hand (but
remember that she can use only unarmed strikes or special
monk weapons as part of the flurry). The penalties for twoweapon
fighting stack with the penalties for flurry of blows.
For example, at 6th level, the monk Ember can normally
make one attack per round at a +4 bonus. When using flurry of
blows, she can make two attacks (using unarmed strikes or any
special monk weapons she holds), each at a +3 bonus. If she
wants to make an extra attack with her off hand, she has to
accept a –4 penalty on her primary hand attacks and a –8
penalty on her off-hand attacks (assuming she wields a light
weapon in her off hand).
If Ember has Two-Weapon Fighting, she has to accept only
a –2 penalty on all attacks to make an extra attack with her off
hand. Thus, when wielding a light weapon in her off hand
during a flurry of blows, she can make a total of three attacks,
each at a total bonus of +1. At least one of these attacks has to
be with her off-hand weapon.
A 20th-level monk with Greater Two-Weapon Fighting can
make eight attacks per round during a flurry of blows.
Assuming she wields a light weapon in her off hand, her three
off-hand weapon attacks are at +13/+8/+3, and she has five
attacks (at +13/+13/+13/+8/+3) with unarmed strikes or any
weapons she carries in her primary hand. If the same monk also
has Rapid Shot and throws at least one shuriken as part of her
flurry of blows (since Rapid Shot can be used only with ranged
attacks), she can throw one additional shuriken with her
primary hand, but all of her attacks (even melee attacks) suffer
a –2 penalty. Thus, her full attack array looks like this:
+11/+11/+11/+11/+6/+1 primary hand (two must be with
shuriken) and +11/+6/+1 off hand.
31st-Mar-2006 12:00 am (UTC)
Whooooa, an official ruling. Scary. Thanks for the info!

(I still resent the ambiguity represented in the quote that I bolded and italicized above, though. If they wrote it properly to begin with, they wouldn't need FAQ's....oh, but this is a very niche question, so maybe they didn't really need to write it in any of the original rules. Whatever.)
31st-Mar-2006 12:03 am (UTC)
It's something that comes up every now and again, and is a bit of a GM call still really; hence it's in the FAQ rather than the errata.
Although the FAQ IS the official answer; people often decide it's not correct, or not the best one for them.
31st-Mar-2006 07:35 am (UTC)
Glad someone beat me to it :p

Sorry I didn't reply to the other post. I was kind of caught up with work and somesuch.
1st-Apr-2006 04:06 am (UTC)
Somebody on this forum recently said that a vampire monk could not combine its energy drain attack with its regular unarmed strike. I don't think this is true.

Neither do I. In a stock D&D game, a Vampire is an NPC. An 8th level Vampire/Monk is not really much of a CR 10 opponent if they lose their most lethal and trademark attack.
1st-Apr-2006 04:10 am (UTC)
That's a good point.

Or at least if they can't combine their two most lethal and trademark attacks.

And if you play a game that requires good/neutral PC's, you'll never have to worry about them abusing it, so you can safely make it a houserule.

23rd-Oct-2008 12:51 am (UTC) - vampire monk energy drain
even though this is a rather old thing to be posting on I just cant help say that yes it does work. 3.5 monster manual uses a vampire monk as its example and lists monk unarmed attack stacking with the energy drain.
5th-Jan-2009 10:02 am (UTC) - im confused
so if you look in monster manual the elite vampire states Unarmed Strike +14 melee (1d10+5 plus energy drain), this is in 3.5 MM, so tell me again why that is when thy don't stack???
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