totally agree that crane style is an exceptional feat, im not denying that and with crane wing later…most excellent. nor am i denying that defensive fighting is not crucial for frontliners.
if a +4 to ac does not help you not get hit then whats the point fighting defensively and taking that penalty to hit? and thus even having crane style? its all about whether you are going to stack AC or not
as you say imperative for frontliners, but also you must stack ac or defensive fighting is not going to help and i never mentioned frontliners in my post just characters in general. yes jaeth should have a reach weapon and amiri should be enlarged but apart from that would you spend a monk level on either of them? or crane style? OP never mentioned being a frontliner and if hes not and/or not going to stack AC monk level splash will not help him/her
a human level 1 fighter could easily go dodge, imp unarmoured and crane style at level 1
a non human fighter could do the same in at level 2 without "wasting feats as they get one every single level
totally agree a monk dip is worth it for non fighter types (and aldori defender who doesnt get as many bonus feats as other fighters and is probs going to be unarmoured and really needs to spend early feats on aldori defense, weapon finesse and slashing grace etc for example)
but is it worth it for a fighter who gets 20 feats? IMO it is not (this like every other one is just my opinion) for fighters i wouldnt want to slow down progression with a monk splash when 2 measily feats out of 20 will do it
even if just taking a “few” fighter levels thats alot of bonus feats
look at all the above builds by mork, none took monk dip and instead spent feats to get crane style and still ran out of feats to choose by end
a human fighter for example, tower shield spec at level 3 could have crane style (and imp unarmed ofcourse), dodge, heavy armour pro and shield pro.
same character fighter 2/monk 1 could have exactly the same +1 extra feat which wont the pure fighter will make up next level
the pure fighter will achieve no penalty to hit with tower shield 1 level faster and will always have a higher AC due to armour/shield training 1 level higher too.
so all opinions but i wouldnt want to slow down my heavy armour tanks progression with a monk level. same with 2 handed fighter hit those +1 to hit and damage faster
alddor defender or unarmoured fighter on the other hand, totally would
the way hit bonus’ have been applied in this game if you are not stacking AC the extra +1 bonus to AC from crane wing is irrelevant and the -2 to hit from defensive fighting instead of -4 is completely moot if you are not using defensive fighting, which you should not obviously if it doesnt help ac
fodder its not necessary, the tough monsters it wont help unless AC has been stacked hard
for example i definitely should have it on valerie (i fucked up and kept forgetting to pick it should of done at level 5 or even 3, now level 7 and still forgot sigh, will respec when its fixed for xbox) and have definitely taken for my main who is aldori defender/monk/duelist and is approaching valeries ac
for say jaeth and amiri, not worth it at all. not worth taking feats nor is it worth taking a monk dip. the +4 to AC for them is not going to make a single point of difference.
eg jaeth has an armour class of 23, 27AC vs enraged bla blah owlbears or venomhodanks (which im fighting at moment) makes absolutely zero difference.
those creatures only missed on a 1 against jaeth/am if they had crane style and turned on defensive fighting according to the their attack they would still only miss on a 1 hell even if they had crane wing and another +4 to ac that means those creatures would still only need a 5 to hit.
valerie on the other hand, who has stacked AC, this makes a major difference they go from needing a 13 to hit to a 16 (11 and 14 on flanking) thats most definitely worth it and if i hadnt fucked up and forgotten to choose crane wing would be a 17, although honestly i would totally pick it for that +2 bonus to hit making def fighting more manageable at -2 instead of -4. although again thse creatures have low AC and she didnt have too much worry hitting even with a -4, though yep -2 would be mucho better.
im not denying the power of crane style nor the 1 dip monk splash for it
all im saying is the way this game stacks hit bonus its all AC or bust
and for the fighter types with so many feats it may not be worth it to splash rather tahn feat
for valerie it meant hitting the no penalty to attack with tower shield at level 5. you would get that one level later with a monk splash. made a big difference to val at level 5
and ofcourse the +1 to max dex in armour, and the no move penalty in heavy armour will come faster without the 1 splash in monk.
a fighter, 2 handed fighter and tower shield specialist gets 20 feats, 20! i would rather say for val spend 2 feats (improved unarmed at 4 and crane style at 5 or imp unarmed at 2 crane style at 3, is crane style on the bonus fighter feat list by the way as could pick it one of them instead?) and hit the class progression earlier
and honestly what is 2 feats spent out of 20?
non magic full plate gives an armour bonus of 9 which you can get a start of game, you would need a wis/cha of 28 to achieve that or wis/cha of 26 with bracers AC1, which is all thats available at start of game
or a +6 to dex and a +4 to wis/cha or vice versa, inwhich none of these builds have (extra +1 needed on dex as fullplate has +1max dex)
none of the builds above have anywhere near the dex + wis or cha to beat full plate even with gear
depends on your stats. if you going to stack dex and wis/cha then yep armour is not as good as unarmoured if you are not it isnt.
my main is 10,18,10,14,10,18 as such absolutely benefits from monk dip and fighting unarmoured. eventually will out AC valerie but even starting with those high defensive stats putting points into dex on level up and wearing a +dex belt and a +cha headband snd with an extra +1 defensive fighting due to keep forgetting to pick for valerie, valerie has +5 higher ac than main +4 higher when both are defensive fighting
valerie does not have the stats to ever beat full plate + tower shield,
i agree with all your points on crane wing being powerful and excellent even op as you say, all my tank/frontliners in both my PC and xbox run have it (except val on xbox i keep forgetting!!!) and all my beneath the stolen land run and i would never not get it. but may no need monk splash for it. neither valerie in main games or any of my tower shield specialists in the beneath the stolen land runs miss it nor would get any use out of a monk splash.
my highest stolen land runs so far my sword and board full plate wearing tower specialists are still the highest AC characters in my groups, eventually my stacked AC unarmoured monk splash tanks will overtake but still not yet
all im saying about crane style is 3 things really, if you are not stacking AC its not worth it, it is only worth it on characters where a +4 to ac from fighting defensively will actually give them a chance of not getting hit, if it doesnt or if it say means they only need a 4 to hit instead of a 2 then its not, and not worth the -2 to hit. the tough enemies in this game have such a high attack bonus medium or so AC is pretty much the same as none and defensive fighting + crane style is not going to help that.
2nd, this is very very very personal opinion but for high feat classes, especially fighters a monk splash is not worth it as 2 feats out of 20, at level 1 you could have it and if a human fighter you could have it and another feat. especially if going armoured and as OP’er said he not min maxing and wants to RP with medium armour. monk splash wouldnt be worth it for the monk stuff (+ac) and with all the fighter bonus feats, including he/she could start the game with crane style at level 1, a monk splash it not worth it for crane style in my opinion for this character. in which he could also reach fighter goals faster and alchemist goals and spells faster.
and i keep seeing it referred to as +4 ac, not just here but everywhere and it doesnt it gives an extra +1 to AC when fighting defensively which equals +4 (+2 from defensive fighting +1 from 3 ranks mobility +1 from crane style)
the most important thing about crane wing is not the +1 to AC it gives through defensive fighting (although nothing to be sneezed at every little bit helps when AC stacking) its the +2 bonus to hit, meaning you only suffering -2 to hit instead of -4
and eveywhere i also see “everyone needs crane style!!” no everyone does not, only frontline tanks do. it is a must for them but you must stack AC and whether its worth a monk splash or gained through feat progression depends on character
sorry this ones even longer sigh