A Centered state of being is a critical component of the Monk class.
Several class-specific benefits are lost while a Monk is not Centered, effectively switching off the Monk's central powers.
- The Monk loses his Armor Class Bonus received at levels 1, 5, 10 and 15.
- You cannot use or attain the benefits of any Monk-specific stances.
- Your ki meter drains rapidly to zero and cannot be refilled.
- The Fast Movement and Slow Fall abilities are disabled, leaving the character slower in running and in greater need of a Feather Falling item.
- Any Monk enhancements that toggle (such as Sting of the Ninja) will deactivate.
- The Flurry of Blows feat is disabled, bringing a Monk's Base Attack Bonus from 1 * Monk level to 0.75 * Monk level.
Being uncentered doesn't affect your AC bonuses related to WIS or DEX stats. Being uncentered also doesn't affect your Improved Evasion ability.
The most common way that a monk becomes uncentered is by being encumbered. A monk must not be encumbered in order to keep centered. Low-level monks are susceptible to Ray of Enfeeblement spells, which can reduce Strength and leave the monk vulnerable.
Monks cannot wear any armor except robes or outfits in order to keep centered. If you are a Warforged character, you can use the Composite Plating (the starting plate all Warforged receive) but must not choose any other armor feats for that class.
Changing feats is more problematic—and expensive. A Warforged will remain permanently uncentered until they respec their feats, either through the free feat token from Lockania or by obtaining or purchasing (through the DDO Store) an appropriate dragonshard. Both tokens and dragonshards are used by Fred to swap feats. It may be advantageous for a Warforged to be rerolled, rather than to use a feat exchange.
Monks cannot use shields. Their Evasion feats, Miss chance benefits and saves compensate for this over time.
The kama, shuriken, handwraps and quarterstaff are the only weapons most monks can use without being uncentered. If the Ninja Spy enhancements are chosen by monks on the Path of Inevitable Dominion, shortswords can be used. Longswords can be used by taking the Whirling Steel Strike feat. Longbows & shortbows can be used by monks with the Zen Archery feat, although that feat itself does not give the weapon proficiency.
Although monks are proficient with handaxes, they are not considered a ki weapon. Players who multi-class Monk levels and use other weapons will find that their limited Monk skills are disabled; for example, a multi-class Artificer wearing a Rune Arm will be uncentered.
A Kensei character can train any melee weapon and become Centered using it with the proper prerequisites in their class tree.
Energy draining attacks can also uncenter a monk. Wearing spell absorption items will counter this issue, if only for a time.
Developer Notes on Armor Class and Centering
The Monk's Wisdom-based Armor Class bonus does not fully rely on the Centered state. This bonus has the same armor, shield, and encumbrance requirements as centered, but the Monk's weapons don't matter. A Monk still gets this bonus if he is uncentered only because of his weapons. This is intentional: