Why Monk Base Attack Bonus Should Stack

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(This is a D&D 3.0 article, as they changed the way monk attacks work in 3.5 so they stack now.)

Question: I understand why you want monks BAB to stack with other class BAB when you multiclass (as you mention in this article on character classes), but if you add a monk's BAB to a 1-for-1 BAB class like Bbn/Ftr/Pal/Rgr, won't that give a multiclassed monk of that type a much better attack bonus and more iterative attacks than a monk 20?

Answer: Yes. But the multiclassed monk is going to have worse saves, not as many of the cool abilities (such as quivering palm), fewer skill points (at least in skills suitable for monk combat, like Tumble), worse unarmed damage, and a worse AC.

Remember that one of the big benefits of multiclassing as a fighter, for example, is that you're suddenly proficient in armor and all of these weapons ... but you can't use your monk BAB in armor, and you can't use your monk BAB for most of those weapons. All a monk really gets for multiclassing as fighter is an increased BAB, a bigger hit die, and a new feat every other level, whereas a single-classed monk gets all of the goodies mentioned in the previous paragraph. If the monk can't use their extra BAB to add to their favorable attack rate, that means that multiclassing for them just isn't worth it.

(The monk's iterative attacks should stop at 5 per round, though.)

Question: I have heard that some interperet the monk's BAB rule as saying that a monk adds other classes' BAB to her first attack, but then uses whichever class gives her the better successive attacks based on the individual class levels. Where is this?

Answer: It's in the D&D FAQ that a multiclassed monk can either use just her monk BAB to determine her favorable iterative attacks (i.e., at -3 per), or can use her entire BAB but has to use the normal (-5 per) rate. Which means the monk is screwed just about all the time. Compare (the first two column are what the D&D FAQ says, the third column is what I argue should be the rule):

Class ComboMonk-Rate Iterative Attacks
(monk BAB only)
Standard Iterative Attacks
(total BAB)
Monk-Rate Iterative Attacks
(all BAB)

Looking at this chart, you can see that compared to a multiclassed monk, a fighter of the same level is always going to have more attacks per round (compared to the monk just using monk BAB) or a greater attack value for the same number attacks (compared to the total BAB at the normal rate) ... even when we're talking about punching someone (yes, the monk has flurry, but the -2 to each attack balances out the extra attack). So in unarmed combat, where the monk is supposed to be supreme, the multiclassed monk loses out to the fighter every time. To me, that's not right.

Question: The FAQ rule keeps what you are proposing from becoming a problem in certain cases. Or do you think it's OK that a Mnk2/Ftr18 is better at unarmed combat than a Mnk20 using your rule?

Answer: I think that's perfectly OK. The Mnk20 has been studying a lot of things, including zen stuff and ki stuff. The Mnk2/Ftr18 has been focusing on hitting things really hard and ignoring the other stuff that a monk would learn. (While the Mnk2/Ftr18 is better just in terms of BAB, the Mnk20 is better overall at unarmed combat ... see below).

Comment: But attacking at +19/+16/+13/+10/+7 a lot better than attacking at +15/+12/+9/+6/+3 (or even +19/+12/+9/+6/+3). Being able to take one or two levels of monk and then advance in pure combat classes--complete with bunches of bonus feats--and still improve your unarmed iterative attacks at the -3 means you're really front-loading the monk class.
Response: Compare the two resulting characters. Neither is wearing armor (because you don't get the BAB in armor).

Male Mnk2/Ftr18Female Mnk20The Winner
no AC bonusAC bonus +4Her
base saves +14/+9/+9base saves +12/+12/+12Her
2 stuns per day20 stuns per dayHer
movement 30 ft.movement 90 ft.Her
2d8+18d10 hit dice (average 108)20d8 hit dice (average 90)Him
BAB +19BAB +15Him
Unarmed strike 1d6Unarmed strike 1d20Her
10 bonus fighter feats17 monk powers:
+3 ki strike,
deflect arrows,
still mind,
slow fall any distance,
immune to disease,
improved trip,
leap of the clouds,
improved evasion,
immune to poison,
dimension door,
spell resistance 30,
quivering palm,
no aging,
speak with any living creature,
changes to outsider

Still think it's unfair to the monk? The monk will kick the monk/fighter's ass in unarmed combat, and that's what we want.