GMing with an overtuned skill monkey

I have a player in one of my games, who has managed to create a build that can roll a minimum of 41 by level 7 across a large plethora of skills (mostly excluding dex/str based skills). They use these (alongside spells) to set up webs and endanger opponents without getting directly involved, until the party is ready to attack or fight as well.

However, with such high skill rolls, I am worried that other players will start to feel that they should not even bother with skills. I have talked to the player and we have agreed that he will keep some of his uses to background use or last resort and he is okay with that.

How can I show other players with less skill focused characters that their skill usage still matters?

DnD 3.5 Build – ‘Gravity Monkey’ idea with monk and druid

I’m about to start a DnD 3.5 campaign with a malleable DM. We are starting at level 5-8 (TBD) with 100,00 gold. I’ve been working on a build that has flavors of Sun Wukong – The Monkey King – at early levels and Pain from Naruto (almighty push stuff) at late levels. My goal is a ‘gravity monkey’ with a mantra of “The strength in this world lies in the sky and the earth.. and the forces that hold it together.”

I have approved the Wukong homebrew race and I will start with 2 levels of Monk as an orphan brought to a monastery in cold mountains (unless something more fitting is suggested). For the next several levels, I am planning to hit druid for the quarterstaff buffs and ability to summon elementals (Rashini Elemental Summoning as my idea). My end game is 6, 9, or 10 levels of the homebrew class, Mage of the Unseen Force (Gravity-mancer). I essentially want to be a monkey who hits hard and often, has battlefield control through earth and air spells, and can anytime fly around and summon elementals to supplement that control and then can start changing the gravity of the battlefield.

I’m looking for ideas for classes that might better fit the earth-air-monkey-quarterstaff thing if anyone has them.. BUT I am more specifically looking for alternative class features for the monk or especially druid. I know wild shape is great but I want to replace it to nerf my character a bit (my group isn’t heavy into optimization) and because I imagine myself pumping strength and staying in my form base most of the time. That said, the Monkey King has the power to turn himself into anything… I just don’t really want the stats from that – more the utility. I have looked at Shapeshifter ACF for druid, but it isn’t quite what I’m imagining as it seems to just buff stats if I’ve read it right. I can’t find much literature on the Elemental Druid ACF/Elemental Summoner Druid ACF, but it is very intriguing.

Question 1 synopsis: How can I make a druid (or something else) a nature-of-earth-and-air focused caster?

I also imagine myself as someone who doesn’t use many items. I want a badass quarterstaff (the Monkey King had one) that fits my ideas and have been trying to figure that out, but I am a bit unclear on staffs vs. quarterstaffs and whether a druid can use magic staffs.

Question 2 synopsis: Are there any awesome staffs that could be used as a quarterstaff and affect earth and air?.. or are there any other items that might be awesome for this build?

I will have some feats to spare. I will have my monk feats and am looking at quarterstaff focus, Rashini Elemental, and Magically Aloft for the homebrew prestige.. but otherwise have a lot of options.

Question 3: What feats work with earth, air, quarterstaff, or anything else that seems to fit?

Last notes: I live in China so anything with an Eastern flavor would be great. I don’t really want too much more homebrew as I have already added quite a bit, but suggestions are still welcome. I am not looking to be OP, just want a fun combat character. Our campaign is potentially going to be focused around finding a Deck of Many Things which my DM has a physical copy of. I don’t see that influencing my character really, but thought it was worth mentioning. I have read druid handbooks and Monkey King build threads, but am by no means well versed. I have looked at Apelord and Monkey Shen and neither fits right now, but if it makes sense with other options I am all eyes.

Thanks for the read and any answers in advance.

Can I use Two Immovable Rods as an infinite ladder or monkey bars?

There are already several questions concerning immovable rods, but I thought I’d add this to the list.

Consider a stealthy and inventive assassin. She’s on a mission to infiltrate the castle and kill a visiting duke. The assassin has to cross a wide moat and scale the castle wall, but for unspecified reasons she can’t use her normal tools.

Luckily, our intrepid antihero has gotten her hands on not one, but two immovable rods.

Can she fix one rod in place, hang from it one-handed, and fix the other rod ahead of her, repeating this process to create a set of monkey bars in order to cross the moat?

Once across, can she do a similar process, but vertically, in order to create a ladder?

Is this Monkey Grip port balanced as a 5e feat?

There is a feat in D&D 3.5e called Monkey Grip. I am considering this 5e feat inspired by that:

Monkey Grip

Wielding a weapon made for a creature one size larger than you doesn’t impose disadvantage on your attacks.

This means, assuming you are Medium and you wield a Large weapon, the base damage die of the weapon is doubled. At best—a Large greatsword or maul—this adds +2d6 damage, or on average +7, to each attack.

Great Weapon Master offers +10 damage at a −5 attack penalty—but you can also choose not to use it if you need the accuracy, and Great Weapon Master also offers the option for a bonus-action attack on a crit or kill. I strongly suspect that a +3 relative bonus in damage is not (remotely) worth a −5 penalty to attack, and I have doubts that the bonus-action attack, as limited as its triggers are, is going to make up the difference. Is this version of Monkey Grip clearly superior to Great Weapon Master? Is there any case in which Great Weapon Mastery would be the optimal choice when this Monkey Grip is available?

The comparison with Sharpshooter, it seems to me, is a little better—the same −5 attack for +10 damage, but the other effects of Sharpshooter seem far more valuable. How does that stack up?

The other consideration is that Monkey Grip and Great Weapon Master could be combined, for a possible +17 damage—unprecedented so far as I know, since most of the direct combat feats are incompatible with one another, unless there’s some way to make a “melee attack” with a “ranged weapon” in order to qualify for both Great Weapon Mastery and Sharpshooter. Still, we could just add a clause to Monkey Grip barring it from being used in combination with Great Weapon Mastery, if necessary, as I suspect it is.

The 3.5e Monkey Grip feat came with a −2 penalty to attack rolls. In that system, that penalty was not worth the benefit, but the benefit was only +1 damage, on average, not up to +7 (unless you really worked at it, but that took much more than just picking the right type of weapon). And, of course, 3.5e math and 5e math are quite different. So I have, for the initial version of the feat, left that out—but the comparison to Great Weapon Mastery leads me to suspect that Monkey Grip needs something. Is a −2 penalty the answer? Comparing Great Weapon Mastery and Monkey Grip, you’d be looking at a −3 relative attack penalty for a +3 relative damage bonus—is that better-balanced? Does it expand the situations in which Great Weapon Mastery is the optimal choice? Does it leave other cases where Monkey Grip is the optimal choice?

Most 5e feats do more than one thing, too. Great Weapon Mastery has the bonus-action attack, Sharpshooter mitigates the difficulties of long range and/or cover. Monkey Grip should probably have something too—I’m kind of leaning towards an Intimidate-based effect, since the whole concept of Monkey Grip is the badass image of someone with a huge freakin’ sword—be nice to see that image have mechanical effect. But I have left that out, too, on the basis that Monkey Grip already looks too good compared to Great Weapon Mastery and GWM’s bonus-action attack or Sharpshooter’s range/cover mitigation might make up the difference. So it would be nice if answers also addressed how large a consideration the bonus-action attack or range/cover mitigation is in determining whether or not Monkey Grip is balanced—if, for example, the lack of an add-on feature makes the difference between the −2 penalty being “enough” for balance, I would want to know that.

Is there an equivalent to the monkey grip feat in d&d 5e?

While I was DMing a D&D 3.5 adventure, one of my players played a character with the monkey grip feat (because he liked the manga Berserk, where the hero has a giant sword). And turned out it was fun.

Now I DM for D&D 5e, and I plan to play with this player again, and he might want to play a similar character.

So here I am with this question: Is there an equivalent to the monkey grip feat in d&d 5e?

Is this Flying Monkey familiar overpowered?

I am DMing a game with my niece, whose character is a 2nd level Wizard. In our last session she acquired the find familiar spell which she copied into her spell book and then wanted to cast to summon a flying monkey. Initially I didn’t allow it since the spell description only lists fairly mundane creatures, but I’ve been thinking it over and I’d like let her have her way. It would be a fun thing to add to the game and it would also be a small reward for what I think is a cool idea.

Here are the stats for the Flying Monkey that I have worked up:

Flying Monkey

Tiny beast, unaligned

Armor Class 13
Hit Points 4 (2d4)
Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft., fly 30 ft.

STR 8 (−1) DEX 16 (+3) CON 10 (+0)
INT 6 (−2) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 10 (+0)

Skills Stealth +5 (while not flying), Acrobatics +5, Sleight of Hand +3
Senses passive Perception 11
Challenge 0 (10 XP)

Nimble. The flying monkey has advantage on all dexterity based saving throws.


Bite. Melee weapon attack: +1 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 (1d4 − 1) piercing damage.

Does this seem to be in line with the other familiars, power-wise? Or is it overpowered?

It has a fly and climb speed, but I’ve kept them fairly low to compensate. I’ve also given it stealth and the ability to use sleight of hand to give it some additional utility and to compensate for the lack of special senses.

What is the benefit of the Monkey Grip feat?

The Monkey Grip feat enables you to wield a larger weapon at the cost of -2 to attack.

In the best case, a larger weapon gives you 3.5 extra damage: Greatsword 2d6 -> large Greatsword 3d6. The increase is even lower for smaller weapons.

Power Attack gives you more damage increase for -2 to attack, and it is more flexible, as you can change your attack penalty and damage benefit from round to round.

Why would I ever pick Monkey Grip?

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Nashorn: monkey patch a Java object?

Let’s say I’ve an object instantiated from the following Java class:

class Pojo {     public String foo = "foo"; } 

This object is then bound to the Nashorn engine:

Bindings bindings = engine.createBindings(); bindings.put("pojo", pojo); 

If I try monkey patching the POJO, the following code prints undefined:

engine.eval(" = 'baz'; print(;", bindings)); 

I assume this is because POJOs don’t get converted to regular JS objects. Is there some other construct (provided by Nashorn?) that would let me achieve this?