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First time as monk?

Im not sure if anyone it still on here but i recently got baldurs gate and want to play as a monk as thats my normal go to. I found online that alot of people consider the monk underpowered in alot of ways and i also found a post giving detailed instructions on how to play the monk effectively and what items to get to make the class viable. Because i never played the game before i dont want to go online looking at a bunch of item locations to keep from getting rekted. So id like to know if monk is a class can be played by a first time player without having all the optimal gear and party layout and not be a terrible and difficult experience. And if the answer is no then is ranger a good class to start with, i know paladins and fighters are the de facto good for beginners classes but ranger is also another favorite of mine.


  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    It would probably be a bit difficult to keep a Monk alive in BG:EE as a first-time player. Monks weren't even in the original Baldur's Gate (only in BG2), and they really struggle at low levels. Ranger is a great choice.
  • KorbuKorbu Member Posts: 61
    edited November 2015
    Yeah, Monks aren't as powerful as other Fighter types at lower levels, but at higher levels they become very tough and just wreck things.

    I first played BG 1 and BG 2 over a decade ago, and when i got BG: EE this year i was surprised to see Monk as a playable class in BG 1: EE, which they weren't in the original. I remember just wrecking everything as a Monk in BG 2, and how resilient they were, so i started my first BG: EE play as a Darkmoon Monk. It came as a surprise to me though just how the Monk couldn't quite perform on the same level as other melee Classes in BG 1.
    I had to use Kagain to tank, Dorn being my main damage dealer, and my player character Monk just supplementing the damage output. If there were Mages about though, my Darkmoon Monk made their Blur, Mirror Image and Invisibility spells practically useless, with his Detect Illusion skill.
  • DragonspearDragonspear Member Posts: 1,835
    How do you feel about using weapons until BG2EE?

    The reason I ask (especially considering you can't use a staff *grumbles), is that you'll lack an enchantment bonus to your fists until then. That's going to put you behind compared to most fighters in BGEE (which is where, arguably, fighters shine the most).

    That said, I run with Rasaad, who is a monk with suboptimal stat allocation, and I've made it through fine. Just requires babysitting.
  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    Of course it can be done, @Dragonspear ... but you're an experienced player.

    @Frywick - no, don't go with a Monk for a first run in BG1ee. It'd probably be tough and frustrating. A Ranger would be a much better choice. However, what you could do is include the Monk NPC (Rasaad) in your party, at least part of the time, to give yourself some flavour of how Monks work at these lower levels ... and you'll probably see why we're not recommending it for your protagonist until you've had some practice at the game. Monks are excellent at higher levels (in BG2), but getting any value out of them at the lower levels takes some know-how. Once you've been through the game a time or two with easier classes, then sure, go for it with a Monk.
  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,100
    I've done a saga playthrough as a monk. My thoughts...

    BG1 monks are horrible. Horrible, horrible, horrible. As in, phone breakingly bad. They can't hit anything. They do very little damage. They are squishy as heck, dying before you even know what hit them. They are also faster than everyone else, so they always run ahead of the group into danger. In just about every way they are the worst possible class in BG1. I'd rather play a vanilla bard, with the worthless bard song. At least they get wands.

    BG2 they start getting better. In early-mid BG2 they can hold just about hold their own with fighters. They won't be as good, but they won't be a liability.

    Late BG2 and ToB they suddenly turn into gods. My Monk, by the end of ToB had 100% magic resistance, the best AC in the party, the best THACO, hit for the most damage...and with HLAs she was just a monster. 10 attacks per round, hitting for over 40 damage each, and when you add in monk stunning attacks and the like? Best character in the party, without a doubt.

    So if you want to play a monk, know that BG1 will be extremely hard and your Charname will feel like a worthless addition to a party of heroes. But by the end of BG2 you'll have a one man army. A Charname who walks up to Irenicus for the final fight and just laughs as the main boss flails around uselessly. That, and you'll get to punch several dragons, demons and other big nasties to death with your fists. Which is surprisingly fun.
  • craymond727craymond727 Member Posts: 208
    edited November 2015
    My first saga playthrough was with a Monk, albeit on "core rules," so I'm sure the experience will differ if you choose SCS or other mods. I had dabbled with the game growing up, but never committed myself to playing through until two years ago. I had a slightly more positive experience than Grum as far as BG1/early BG2 went, but you definitely have to play a monk cautiously during this part of the game(s). If you're invested in it, I'd say go for it, because there is something satisfying about pummeling baddies with your bare hands, but know that monks do require some babysitting in the first half of the saga. If I remember correctly, I spent a lot of the first game with a sling in hand, then would engage in melee after my front-liners had drawn most of the aggro. Once my MR had gone through the roof in BG2, I often used my monk to scout ahead/engage Mages.
  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    While monks are terrible at low levels it is still possible to have run with then which I did with a no reload solo run through.

    Stick with ranger (maybe archer kit?) for a first play through but remember that any class can work well.
  • Oleandro2212Oleandro2212 Member Posts: 3
    edited December 2021
    Old thread, but here's my take on it...


    Darts, darts, darts, darts.

    Did I mention darts?

    Oh yes, and darts.

    You can pump them out 3 per round, and while they don't do much damage, they stack high, and are cheap to buy. One advantage as a Monk early on, is your movement speed. Kite and throw darts. Rinse and repeat. The only time you should engage in hand to hand is when you can get a sneak attack from stealth (-4 THAC0 bonus). Even better if you Stun them. Don't follow up with punches (slow), get a few Darts in while they're stunned. Do a hit, run away, resteath, or just use darts and kite.

    And don't fall into the trap of using throwing daggers, they're much more expensive and stack less. They may do more damage, but darts have one extra attack per round. You can also buy +1 darts dirt cheap, which will let your Monk do damage to certain enemies immune to normal attacks (since you don't get enchanted Fist attack until level 9). +1 Throwing daggers are unavailable until much later in the game.

    Also, spend some time in starting areas (before the Inn), just you and Imoen (stack her up on arrows) killing gibberings, wolves and bears (black bears are slow, they got no chance of catching up with a speedy Monk, and each gives you 175xp). Make sure to sleep in the area, they have a good chance of respawning after each sleep. Wolves are quicker, but net a solid 65xp. Gibberings are just pathetic, and have a decent 35xp reward per kill. Monks level pretty quickly, so you''ll stak up a level or two before you know it. Just make sure they don't get in melee range. Get up to level 3-4. Then you'll start to pick up a little. But until level 9-ish, Darts are your best friend as a Monk. Darts and sneak attacking. Also remember your unarmed attacks have extended range. You can attack from 2 hexes away, then run before the mob has a chance to close to 1 hex and hit you.

    Early Monk is challenging, and needs to be played with a bit of foresight and patience. But if you can brave it out, it'll pay off big time later in the game.

    Keep in mind what "Kung Fu" means in Chinese - Hard Work. Monks are HARD WORK, early on. Boring, repetitive, underperforming. It takes a while to get them going. But once you get there... I'd put my money on a high-level Monk vs. a high-level Kensai/Mage any day of week. :D
    Post edited by Oleandro2212 on
  • WoebegoneWoebegone Member Posts: 15
    Minor quibble: Kung Fu was originally pronounced Gong Fu and meant 'time spent in skillful work' or something like that. I did a trilogy run with a Monk and played him as a skirmisher, darting in and out of combat occasionally using throwing daggers. It required a bit of micro-management though. Eventually he was a prime skirmisher able to take out problem targets with ease. He was quite durable and damaging by the end of TOB. Not the best melee character I've played, but he held his own.
    I can see swapping darts with daggers early game but would probably still play him the same.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,439
    Slings are also fine as your ranged option; good damage per hit, and APR isn't that important when you're not attacking continuously anyway.

    Low-level monks do need a ranged option of some kind, of course. There are some foes that are just too dangerous to face in melee even with all of your tricks.
  • Oleandro2212Oleandro2212 Member Posts: 3
    Not a fan of Slings, personally (I'd be much more a fan of them if they actually did Crushing damage like they should :) ). Only one attack a round, they lose out handily to both darts and daggers as they are now.

    I start the Monk with Darts, then switch to Daggers once they become more commonly available (good thing is I only need to put 1 proficiency point in that when the time comes). Slings get a hard pass from me.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,439
    One other mechanics note; while monks can't specialize in anything, they do get bonus attacks on the warrior schedule. By the end of BG1, it's either +1/2 APR with weapons or +1 APR hand-to-hand. It's a small enough difference in attack speed that a conventional enchanted melee weapon is often a good option at that stage.

    When I was messing around with a solo monk, I think I went for sling and long sword as starting proficiencies.
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