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Solo Monk - Is it viable and/or fun?

I started one yesterday, but so far it is a big disappointment. The Irenicus dungeon was painful. Probably I've spent at least an hour watching my guy trying in vain to hit those damn mephits. Of course, I knew that monks have a slower start, so I persisted trough that boring dungeon. Progressively other disheartening realizations kept creeping in. For one, the monk cannot be hasted, so he will be slow as a rock and unable to escape tough situations. Uncomfortable, but still within the limits of acceptability.

I read some guide about strategies for solo monks. It recommends spamming cloudkill using wands. Turns out wands are no longer an option. Later another shock: he can't use the amulet of power either. Obviously this won't be a walk in the park. Basically all he can do is to hit stuff. Not exactly the Cornucopia of Tactical Diversity.

So the question is the following: is it at all possible to beat the game with this one, without resorting to so arcanely obscure meta-gaming tactics? I really don't want to struggle trough all of the game, with millions of reloads, only to find out that there's at least one boss a monk cannot handle.

Did someone beat ToB with a monk and how?


  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,211
    MalacPok said:

    Basically all he can do is to hit stuff.

    I'm not sure what you expected :P

    Honestly though, Monks do take quite a while to get truly powerful. Once you start hitting things with higher APR and enchantment levels, and get your magic resistance up, it'll be easier. Of course, it's still not as easy as a proper party.

    I don't know if it's possible to beat the game with a solo Monk, at least a modded game with SCS/Ascension (vanilla should be easy). Not because the Monk isn't powerful enough, but because there may be some mechanics you can't circumvent; I seem to recall something similar for pure fighters. I'm not much of a solo player though, perhaps a more knowledgeable person can help you out in that respect.
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,300
    It is viable , but you have to be used to hiding in shadows and kiting / evading enemies until you're strong enough to beat them in front combat.
  • ArunsunArunsun Member Posts: 1,592
    Basically monk is boring till level 14 when they hit a real powerspike
  • Manveru123Manveru123 Member Posts: 52
    Vampires will give you nightmares, because you can't use Amulet of Power anymore. There are workarounds, and since you're solo and leveling super fast, you'll be able to complete SoA.

    Good luck with ToB, though. I don't see how you could possibly beat Ravager when you can't stack Hardiness. Assuming you get that far.

    I was also very keen on a Monk solo playthrough as I love the class, however currently I can only recommend either getting the "vanilla" game (where you - simply put - have more options), or perhaps use this:
  • Spjuv3rnSpjuv3rn Member Posts: 61
    Did it once in vBg2 and from what i remember didn't use any cheesy tactics, so it's probably still viable.
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,211
    To be fair, vanilla BG2 can be and has been beaten by naked characters :P
  • MalacPokMalacPok Member Posts: 96
    Just hit level 17 and things are looking good, at least for SoA. I bought all the undead protection scrolls I could find. 12 of these will be enough to cover all the critical vampire encounters.

    I was wrong about the monk's movement speed. Turns out that boots of speed still work well + the innate speed is also more than decent, so I can move around really fast.

    Another question> What about HLAs? Should I focus on Critical strike or Whirlwind?
  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,903
    Whirlwind. As a monk, you can't be hasted, so your max APR without Whirlwind is 4. Whirlwind puts that at 10, for 2.5x damage. Critical Strike gives 2x damage, assuming the enemy is not immune to critical hits. The only advantage of Critical Strike is that it gives you automatic hits, so you would only need it if you're having trouble hitting the enemy.

    Hardiness is still more useful overall, I would say. It dramatically improves your lifespan, and in vanilla is stackable.
  • matricematrice Member Posts: 86

    To be fair, vanilla BG2 can be and has been beaten by naked characters :P

    Yeah, i remember those contest i made with friend.
    No stuff, worst stat possible. We made it (soa + tob) with sorcerer, we finished soa with druid. But i guess a full wisdom druid/cleric can solo it without anystuff aswell.
  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,903
    @matrice: Certainly possible for SoA. I completed an insane solo poverty run of SoA with a Conjurer dualed to Cleric and a Kensai dualed to Druid. Well, I never completed the Kensai/Druid run, but that's because the strategy degenerated to Summon Deva, Energy Blades, and stacking Armor of Faith spells. Divine spells are sufficient for poverty runs, even solo poverty runs.

    But it's not realistic for ToB, unless you're spamming reload to land a Harm spell on various bosses, and even then I'm not sure. I know you can do an ISP run of ToB with a Wild Mage, if it's created in ToB, and I'm fairly certain you can beat SoA and ToB both with a Cleric/Thief. But a single-classed Druid or Cleric... I'm not sure if it's realistic to do an ISP run of those characters in ToB. I think the only characters that might be able to handle a full trilogy insane solo poverty run are sorcerers and Cleric/Thieves.
  • MalacPokMalacPok Member Posts: 96

    But it's not realistic for ToB, unless you're spamming reload to land a Harm spell on various bosses, and even then I'm not sure.

    Yeah, that's my strategy with my solo shapeshifter in trying to win the last battle. It takes AGES to land a single harm. Unfortunately there seems to be no other way. Physically engaging her in a GWW form is no option. So, it's a long term challenge. Everyday, I spend like 20 minutes on this fight, and then I return to doing other stuff. She'll be dead around July.

    Also, thanks on the advises! I suspected Whirlwind to be the better option, but wasn't quite sure. Since there are 19 points to spend on these, and the final battles needs to be considered, I will spend 1 on Whirlwind, 12 on Greater Whirlwind and 6 on Hardiness.
  • YannirYannir Member Posts: 595
    Soloing a monk is probably the most boring playthrough I have ever heard of. Monks hit things. Later on they hit them very hard. Period. Would be more interesting to play the kits but that doesnt change the basic idea of the class.

    At some point, monks become invincible death-dealing machines but fresh from scratch, they are hard to play. Their fist enchantments kick in pretty late and the damage improves very slowly.
  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    If you're going solo, @Yannir, not having to share the XP with companions, then a Monk would surely develop quite quickly. Even so, however, I rather agree that it doesn't sound like an exciting run, because Monks don't offer so much tactical variety as many other classes.

    (But heck, what do I know, I don't personally find any solo run an attractive prospect. I like party interactions.)
  • GenryuGenryu Member Posts: 372
    I played through as an evil monk on one of my very first solos, it was challenging but very fun. This was back on the original game before EE introduced the new monk kits. It can be very slow and unforgiving early on as, monk takes a lot of time to come into its own, however its a little powerhouse at higher levels.

    The one thing I remember clearly from my playthrough all those years ago, was landing quivering palm on the silver dragon in the underdark! Dropping a dragon with a single punch felt pretty badass!
  • matricematrice Member Posts: 86
    @semiticgod I don't see how thieves can end the game in no stuff mod. There's some encounter you cann't prepare for, and you cann't run from them, since you don't have anything to speed you, or to draw aggrow away.
  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,903
    @matrice: I was referring to a Cleric/Thief. Spells, Spiritual Weapon, Energy Blades, as well as summons and traps. I don't believe a single-classed thief could do a poverty run.
  • MalacPokMalacPok Member Posts: 96

    @matrice: I was referring to a Cleric/Thief. Spells, Spiritual Weapon, Energy Blades, as well as summons and traps. I don't believe a single-classed thief could do a poverty run.

    Since the monk is starting to get really boring (lvl 31 - enemies die too easily), I consider starting my first poverty run with with a half-orc cleric/thief. It needs be an orc, just because.

  • fighter_mage_thieffighter_mage_thief Member Posts: 262
    Maybe not solo, but definitely with a sidekick.
  • MalacPokMalacPok Member Posts: 96
    After a long pause, I returned to my monk and decided to finish the game with this one too.

    It's quite "amusing" how unversatile the monk can be. Killing enemies with it is either too easy or impossibly hard. Draconis for example falls in the later category. There has to be some kind of secret cheesy tactic to defeat him. It's very discouraging that the monk can't even use the Rod of Reversal to remove those annoying stoneskins. In my previous attempts, this item was absolutely crucial in the final battle. Even if I could somehow defeat Draconis, I have no idea how to win against Melissan.
    It's kinda disappointing.

    I've heard that people managed to win the game solo with every class. In some cases (like the monk's) I really wonder how they did it, though.
  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,903
    I think some solo classes are more dependent on reloads than others. But I think a no-reload is still possible with any class, including a Monk or the much-maligned Wizard Slayer. It's just that some classes have fewer ways of doing so.

    Versatility for me is much more important than power. It's especially vital in no-reload runs where you need enough flexibility to recover when things are going to hell, but more to the point, versatile are just more fun to play. Monks are strong characters, at least at higher levels, but they mostly just hit stuff, and I find it more interesting to have to juggle different priorities and decide between different options.
  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,137
    For Draconis, are you using a Protection from Acid scroll?
  • MalacPokMalacPok Member Posts: 96
    So, I managed to beat the game somehow.

    Got lucky with Draconis and finally Melissan, but it surely took a lot of tries. It was "amusing" how despite my -24 AC she never missed a single hit. At least the other monsters had a difficult time hitting me. Without the Wand of Resurrection this battle would be impossible (or it would take literally hundreds of hour-long sessions of running around in circles).

    The Ravager was also difficult since it had the bad habit of knocking me unconscious and casually dispelling my buffs. The key there was to use the genie summoning bottle to distract them while I could retreat in a corner to make a mid-battle quicksave.

    No-reload runs are quite insane. So many things can go wrong. One bad roll and tens of hours can go instantly to waste. It most certainly requires a high tolerance for frustration. And we're talking about a game here...

    Well, my 13th solo run is finished. Need to try something new.
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,211
    edited April 2015
    MalacPok said:

    It was "amusing" how despite my -24 AC she never missed a single hit.

    ToB enemies (bosses in particular) have LUDICROUSLY low THAC0s, AC tanking is often not a good plan because they'll stomp on your face anyway.
  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 3,075
    I'd expect that a solo monk would be boring the play.

    In BG1 all a monk does is hit things... occasionally.

    In SoA all a monk does is hit things.

    In ToB all a monk does is hit things really, really hard.

    Though if you're soloing then the monk will end up really powerful before ToB. However, it's still boring.

    Or is it? I've never played a solo monk, but it seems like you have. So if you found it fun then so be it.
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,211
    @OlvynChuru Yep, pretty much. Monks hit things with their fist. The end.
  • MalacPokMalacPok Member Posts: 96
    The monk wasn't my most entertaining playtrough, but I don't think that its boringness can be explained using only its lack of strategic diversity. Many other classes also rely on "just hitting things really hard." The very slow start certainly plays a big role, but majority of the blame should fall on the monk's main weapon: the fists. Every other hitter-type needs to find some decent weapons (and other gear) to be good at hitting things, and those are well distributed along the storyline. The monk however does not use many items, and this diminishes the treasure-hunt aspect of the game. Doing stuff only for the XP gets boring fast.
  • ArunsunArunsun Member Posts: 1,592
    Amelyssan has -12Thac0 which means she will indeed hit you quite often with -24 AC.
  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,460
    Arunsun said:

    Amelyssan has -12Thac0 which means she will indeed hit you quite often with -24 AC.

    She also employs time stop, and attacks in there for auto-hits, making your ac moot.

  • ArunsunArunsun Member Posts: 1,592
    She does but you should be able to disrupt her because she needs a full round to cast It.
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