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Kick Butt Kung Fu
Masters of both warlike and mystic arts, the 5th version monk hones mystic energy and rigorous coach into a deadly force out. Monks get to punch and keep on punching with the most attacks out of any fifth edition class. Grab your nunchaku and get ready to train as we go through everything you need to know in this complete monk scout for 5th edition D & D.
Reading: Monk 5e Class Guide In D&D
What Are Monks?
Monks are everything you ’ ve seen in kung fu movies and anime, they ’ ve trained their body and minds to perform feats of superhuman forte and agility. Monks achieve these heights through years of dedication and discipline, seeking to perfect themselves into living weapons and men of insight. sometimes they come from a background of religion, other times they ‘ve adopted a philosophy that requires resolve. The iconic monk is the innocuous disarm serviceman who faces down a gang of thieves, the mum newcomer that does not abide injustice, and the fresh voice of reason in a world of hush towards evil. That ’ s not all a monk can be though, 5th edition monks have batch of niches and specialties for your punch pleasure. You ’ ve got tons of fighting styles and disciplines to choose from, including everything from bibulous masters to full-on anime style energy punches like something out of Dragonball Z. Mechanically, monks are martial characters with a very high number of low price attacks and a selection of about charming abilities akin to cool spells fueled by a special resource called Ki points. They tend to fill a front-line tank car and DPS role, but they ’ ve got enough defensive ability and assortment to push into other roles with only a fiddling attempt .
Some of the most iconic characters that match the monk class description in D & D include Iron Fist, Ryu from Street Fighter, Ty Lee from Avatar the final Airbender, most of the characters from Dragonball Z and many early Shonen anime, and Jackie Chan in practically every function he has ever played .
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Monk Class Features
Before we get into the builds and options in this article, we should go through the fundamental features and rules that define the monk .
While you aren ’ metric ton wearing armor or using a shield you get a particular AC that represents your superhuman agility and resilience. This AC is 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier .
first, this means you won ’ metric ton practice or need armor or shields as a monk .
second, it means you ’ ll want your Dexterity and Wisdom american samoa high as potential to push your AC equally high as you can get it. This shouldn ’ triiodothyronine be excessively much of a problem since these are your identify abilities anyhow, but more on that when we get into monk ability scores .
finally, this means you ’ ll credibly have an AC between 16 to 18 for the majority of your adventures. Those aren ’ triiodothyronine bad ACs by any stretch, but you probable won ’ thyroxine be quite adenine tanky as a champion or heavy armor fighter, but you ’ ll still be able to hold your own in melee .
This is the kernel and potatoes of the class that you ’ ll be using from 1st charge all the way to 20th level. The warlike arts feature is actually a bunch together of material stapled together, and it ’ randomness easy to gloss over or misunderstand parts of it. basically though this ability lets you do real wrong with your unarmed strikes, rather than the practically nothing wrong that your fists would normally do .
To start with, let ’ s get a good wield on “ monk weapons ”, which can be all sorts of things in truth, but have a few stipulations. To be used as a monk weapon, it must be a Simple Melee weapon, and it CAN NOT be Two-Handed, or Heavy. And for whatever rationality, it can besides be a Shortsword .
Being a “ monk weapon ” matters because you can ’ t very do any of your cool warlike arts if you try to use a weapon that isn ’ metric ton a monk weapon. so, while you ’ re not wearing armor or using any of those despicable “ not monk weapons ”, you get the following 3 features :
- You get to use Dexterity instead of Strength for all your attack and damage rolls with your unarmed strikes and monk weapons.
- Instead of the measly 1 damage normal for unarmed strikes, or whatever damage your monk weapon would do, you deal 1d4 instead. This damage is called your martial arts die, and it improves when you hit later levels.
- Whenever you make an Attack, you get to make an unarmed attack as a bonus action. Note that this is absolutely free and doesn’t take any ki points.
It ‘s besides deserving mentioning that you attack with proficiency with your unarmed melee attack, good in font you were n’t sure .
Putting this all together, as a monk you ’ ll be an effective damage trader with just your fists, where most characters would be useless. There ’ rhenium besides a match very important points here to optimize .
first, your martial arts damage improves to 1d6 at 5th level, 1d8 at 11th tied, and 1d10 at 17th floor .
This means that at the early on levels, you ‘ll benefit more from your monk weapon options then you will from your unarmed strikes, so you should make function of one. After you hit 1d8 though, the bare weapon options ca n’t actually keep up and your fists will give you a better benefit .
Speaking of monk weapons, statistically the best one is going to be the quarterstaff since it lets you get up to 1d8 if you use both hands. other weapons have some utility but it truly with the supernumerary damage potential it ‘s the best option all round. When in doubt, use a quarterstaff .
Starting at 2nd level, you gain a particular resource called “ qi points ” that you can spend to activate a short ton of different features .
Your ki points equals your monk floor, so a fifth grade monk has 5 ki points, Etc .
You get all your qi points back on a unretentive rest, so you shouldn ’ triiodothyronine feel excessively bad about spending them in any given fight .
Some of your ki point abilities will force a save shed precisely like a spell, for those situations your DC is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom Modifier .
nowadays getting to the effective farce, we have the cover girl ki abilities you gain access to at 2nd level. You ’ ll get some more at higher levels or from your monk original, but these are the basic ones :
Flurry of Blows : This is going to be the feature of speech you use the most frequently, as it lets you turn your ki point into more melee attacks for a better wrong output. immediately after you make an attack action, you can spend a qi point to make 2 more unarmed attacks as a bonus action. If you ’ ll remember from your martial arts feature, you already get to make a unmarried attack as a bonus action, therefore actually this is letting you spend a qi point for 1 more attack than you could normally do .
Patient Defense : This lets you spend a qi point to use the dodge action as a bonus action. It sucks that it uses up your bonus action, but dodging is a powerful ability. When you dodge any attacks against you until your adjacent bend have disadvantage and doing so normally costs a whole action. If you ’ re on the ropes or trying to tank for the party, remember this feature and pop it for some extra survivability .
Step of the Wind : This lets you spend a ki orient to use the disengage or dash actions as a bonus military action alternatively, and besides triples your jump distances for the bend. The distinctive use of this feature is to close a distance when you absolutely need to, but the startle part is nothing to sneeze at. evening if you have a apartment Strength score of 10, using this ability would make your long jump distance 30 feet and you could jump 9 feet straight up. Remember this if you ’ re facing a wide chasm or need to reach unmanageable places .
Starting at 2nd level, you move fast when you ’ re not wearing armor or a harbor ( which you shouldn ’ triiodothyronine be doing as a monk anyhow ). It starts out as 10 feet of extra movement, which is already huge, but you get flush more movement accelerate as you hit higher monk levels. This all serves to make monks fabulously fluid, and you ’ ll very be able to get anywhere you need to be in most fight situations. Once you hit 9th flush you can even run up erect surfaces and gradation across water sol long as your movement doesn ’ metric ton end there .
Starting at 3rd level, you get to be an absolute badass and hitch arrows and other missiles with your bare hands. When you get shot at you can use your reaction to reduce the sum of damage you take by catching it or deflecting it aside. You plainly roll 1d10, add your Dexterity modifier and your monk grade, and reduce the damage by that amount .
This does use up your reaction, which you only have one of per beat, so that means that the 2nd arrow will deplorably still be able to hit you .
It gets flush cooler though, because if you manage to reduce a guess all the way down to 0 using this ability, you can spend a ki target to throw it binding at them ! It works a bite askew, as it suddenly treats the arrow or thunderbolt as a monk weapon, but you basically get to make a range attack at another target within a short scope of 20 feet, or a long range of 60 feet .
This ability you pick up at 4th flat is fabulously childlike, but I find a draw of DMs and players will slip up on it because in other editions it was more complicate. Simply put, monks take less fall price. When you ’ rhenium falling, you can use your reaction to take 5 X your monk degree less falling damage than you would normally take. This means that most of the meter, you won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be taking any fall price at all unless you try jumping off of mountains. even then, 5e has a utmost decrease damage of 20d6, which has an average output of 70 wrong. This means once you hit level 14 you have well odds of jumping off literally anything and taking no damage, even if you fall for miles !
At 5th level, you get what is arguably the monk ’ second strongest ability. After hitting creatures with a melee weapon attack ( make note here that it ’ south after you already hit ) you can spend a ki point to turn that hit into a “ sandbag strike ” and hit that creature with preciseness. A creature hit by your stunning strike makes a Constitution preservation project ( using your ki point DC ), and if it fails it is stunned until the end of your future turn. This is amazing because the stun condition is ROUGH. A stun creature can ’ t take actions or reactions, which means you basically skip their next turn. They automatically fail Dexterity and Strength saving throws, and all attacks against them have advantage .
To put it another way, if you walk up and stun the big bad guy, your hale party basically gets to freely wail on them as they skip their next turn, and you can do it again on your adjacent plow !
This sport makes monks a nightmare for big one enemies if they have a low Constitution score, as you can basically stun lock them out of a battle. You ’ ll find it less effective against big muscle-bound monsters as they normally have a high Con, but specially against herculean but flimsy spellcasting type enemies you can good obliterate them if you get into melee .
At 6th level your disarm strikes consider as charming for overcoming price resistances and immunity. Nonmagical attacks can have trouble against certain creatures so this is an essential bonus. in truth, this is just hera so that your punches can keep up with early martial classes that would normally be getting their inaugural charming weapons about this tied .
evasion is n’t alone to the monk, but still fabulously impregnable. At 7th level you only take half damage from Dexterity-based effects like fireball when you fail the economy throw, and you take no price when you pass .
Stillness of Mind
besides at 7th grade, you can spend an carry through to cure yourself of the frighten or charm condition. Keep in mind that your flurry of blows and soldierly arts bonus action attack placid requires you to use your action to attack first, then even though you may have a spare bonus action using this feature normally means you are n’t attacking that act .
Purity of Body
The wording on this is n’t quite clear, but they ‘ve cleared it up in a later FAQ. At 10th flush you become straight up immune to disease and poison. Which means that you ca n’t catch any diseases, you are immune to the poison condition, and you are immune to poison wrong .
Tongue of the Sun and Moon
This is a very wyrd ability to pick up at 13th level, but you get to magically understand all spoken languages and everybody can understand you. It ‘s a useful feature to be sure, but odd at tier 3. Keep in judgment it is lone spoken languages, so you wo n’t be translating any ancient textbook .
At 14th degree you gain proficiency in all the saving throws you did n’t have earlier, and you can spend a qi point to reroll a save. Getting a bit better at ability checks is courteous, but the real number improvement here is rerolling the saves. american samoa long as you have some ki left you should realistically pass most saving throws that matter .
At 15th floor you stop “ feeling the effects of age ”, and you no longer need food or water system. This is screen of a hold-over from previous editions ( sometimes called wholeness of body ) where aging had more impact. In old editions aging could affect your abilities like Charisma and forte, but it good does n’t do anything nowadays ( besides flavor differences ). even the food and water part actually should n’t be an return this late in the game. For the most separate, this ability does n’t matter early than spirit and fluff .
At 18th flush you can spend 4 ki points to go into “ empty body mode ” for a minute in which you are invisible and have resistance to all damage except for military unit damage. You besides get the option to blow 8 ki points to do the while equivalent of stellar projection, which can be a potential profit for late crippled adventures. Invisibility and immunity to much all damage is wholly deserving those 4 ki, and at this late degree of play you should probable be using it for every major confrontation .
last, at 20th level you get your capstone that restores 4 ki whenever you start initiative without any. basically all this does is let you spend your ki even more liberally. It ‘s not the strongest finishing touch, but honestly there are n’t many adventures where you ‘d get to this level anyhow, so it ‘s neither here nor there .
Building a Better Monk
Monk Ability Scores
From your starting level to your final ability score improvement at 19th floor, you ‘ll need to decide where best to put your ability points. To maximize the advantages of the monk classify, put your highest ability roll into Dexterity. Most of the weapons you use as a monk will rely on your Dexterity score for attack rolls. So Dex will be your most authoritative ability .
Monk ’ mho consumption ki, the mystic energy that flows through living bodies, to enhance their physical exponent. But the use of ki often requires Wisdom. So put your second-highest hustle into Wis .
Con is besides an authoritative stat for any D & D 5E character. It will allow you to gain more hit points as you level, giving you more survivability in battle. And it will help in many situations that require saving throws. Put your third-highest roll into Con .
Charisma, Intelligence, and Strength are broadly not utilitarian to monks. so put your depleted rolls into these .
5e D & D is intrinsically flexible, and in truth any selections and combinations you can make will silent result in a playable character. however, if you ’ rhenium concerned in making optimum use of all the resources you have available to you, you ’ ll want to select a race for your monk character that has a bonus in both Dexterity and Wisdom :
Elf (Pallid or Wood)
Elves gain +2 Dexterity and both the pale and wood subrace options will net you +1 Wisdom. Both are excellent choices, but you ’ ll have an easier time getting access to wood elves as pale elves are a moment overpower as they get permanent advantage on Insight and Investigation checks and they are technically setting locked into the Critical Role world of Exandria. still, wood elves are an attractive option from a mobility point of view as they ’ ll get to stack even more drift up for your monk .
Halflings get the all-important +2 Dexterity, and the ghostwise subrace snags you +1 Wisdom. Halflings are constantly a powerful option due to the Lucky feature, and the monk ’ s bonus campaign makes up for their relatively boring accelerate. Ghostwise besides gives you straight-up telepathy, which is equitable a useful as it sounds .
Base homo gets +1 to every ability mark, and variant human will get you a powerful 1st level feat aboard +1 to any abilities of your option ( so Dexterity and Wisdom ). Humans are intentionally flexible, and they actually are a feasible option for every class. You should particularly consider taking form human ( assuming your DM is allowing it ) if you ’ re trying to work towards any complex fight builds that take a lot of feats to serve .
Your favored difficult to spell bird people get +2 Dexterity and +1 Wisdom alongside their one actual important feature which is the ability to fly. These birds are by far the most normally banned player race, so the odds of you actually getting to play one is low. however, if you get the chance, they ’ re the ideal monks, with a perfect ability spread and about the strongest mobility sport you could hope for .
Your favored easy to spell boo people besides get +2 Dexterity and +1 Wisdom, but flight is a distant illusion. rather, you get a smatter of furtive features that feel a bite more rascally than monk-like. however, they ’ re a solid fit if you plan on playing a Way of Shadow monk as you ’ ll have a lot of likely uses for the kenku forgery and mimicry as a skittish trace monk .
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When your monk reaches 3rd level, you ’ ll induce to choose a monk custom. This is your subclass that will determine a distribute of your class features and how your character will play .
Way of Mercy
cleric by room of monk, this custom ’ randomness independent feature is the ability to spend your ki points for healing or to deal necrotic damage similar to inflict wounds. You ’ ll find yourself burning through qi points even faster than most monks, but if you diligently save ki for healing you can be a surprisingly effective party medic .
Way of Shadow
This is another impregnable choice for a monk tradition that relies on stealth and dark. At level 3, Shadow Arts gives you a handful of spells to cast using ki, including Pass Without Trace and Minor Illusion. At grade 6, Shadow Step allows you to teleport from one dim-light area to another and gain advantage on your future approach scroll .
Way of the Ascendant Dragon
This original is distillery under construction as an unearth secret so your diabetes mellitus may or may not allow it, but this is one of the best straight DPS options for any monk compared to former monk traditions. You get to change up your damage type on the fly ( which helps to overcome resistance ) between a bunch of fantastic options, and you can turn your qi points into a dragon breath style attack. At 6th level you tied get “ draco wings ”, which grant you a very limited but feasible fly travel rapidly. Pick this up if deal wrong and feign to be draconic creatures sounds playfulness .
Way of the Astral Self
literally become a Jojo ’ second character as this tradition lets you summon an ethereal stand to do your punches for you. apart from the endless zanzibar copal references, it ’ south mechanically a solid front-line fighting original with a very curious braid. It allows you to use your Wisdom in position of your Dexterity for all your attack needs, and with this original you can actually drop Dexterity for the most partially in prefer of maximizing Wisdom and Constitution. Pick this one for the anime, or besides if you like the theme of being supernumerary fresh and beefy .
Way of the Cobalt Soul
This original comes to us from Critical Role so it ’ s technically only in Exandria but with a small pleading your diabetes mellitus may allow it elsewhere. thematically these are the nerdy cognition seeking monks and mechanically they mix in a fiddling snatch of investigator with the ability to learn kernel features like damage vulnerabilities of whatever you ’ rhenium fight and a swerve of excess skill proficiencies. Try this out if you want to punch things, but besides want to investigate some history and mysteries on the side .
Way of the Drunken Master
rock your tipsy self-right in and out of battle. You get to make your attacks and disengage every turn ( well every turn you use bustle of blows ). It ’ s a strong choice for any draw a bead on monk that wants to practically dance their way through the melee .
Way of the Four Elements
This custom is underpowered because it uses up ki in exchange for access to a limited spell list. But if you want to play a character with this custom, hera are the best features to use :
Fangs of The Fire Snake – Spend 1 qi sharpen to make tendrils of fire come from your hands or feet, increasing your disarm reach by 10 foot. Spend another qi point to do an supernumerary 1d10 fire wrong .
Mist Stance – At degree 11, you can turn yourself or another person into a gaseous form. This can be used on a foe during fight to render him harmless. Or it can be used on allies in non-combat situations so they can travel through cracks in the walls, keyholes, etc .
Ride the Wind – At flat 11, you can use this feature to fly .
Way of the Kensei
This is the weapon monk, and it ’ s chiefly about DPS and making the enemy dead fast. You pick a match weapon types and you get to do a whole bunch of cool monk abilities with them. It ’ south besides a great option for an sagittarius monk, as you can pick longbows or early crop weapons as your kensei weapons .
Way of the Long Death
This is the archetypal “ malefic monk ”, which rewards you for being pitiless with temp hit points whenever you kill something. You besides get fear abilities and finally at 11th level you get to basically spend qi points to stay alive. Mechanically it ’ s a ticket original that will work well for any monk getting into the midst of battle, but the fluff is so opaquely evil that you may run into DMs that will nix it for dependable parties .
Way of the Open Hand
This is a potent choice for a custom, and many players believe it is the best. At level 3, Open Hand Technique enhances Flurry of Blows, allowing you to knock a enemy prone or move him 15 ft. away from you whenever you use this feature. The victim gets a saving throw against Dex or Str to avoid these effects. You can rather prevent him from taking a reaction until the conclusion of your adjacent sour. In this sheath, he gets no saving hurl against it .
Way of the Sun Soul
Laser monk ! You might have heard of this one as the method for playing Ryu in 5e, and it is. You basically get to do all your monk attacks at crop as your punches turn into beams of searing light. It ’ s not actually all that strong, but it sure is amazing and the range does make some combats easier to navigate .
No monk usher would be arrant without a list of feats to pick. so here they are :
Lucky – Gives you luck points that allow you to sometimes roll an extra d20 and choose which one counts or to cancel the fortune of others. This feat is frequently used to get adventurers out of dangerous situations .
Mobile – +10 ft. rush. Allows you to Dash through difficult terrain without it costing you extra campaign. Prevents you from getting hit with opportunity attacks in reception to your melee attacks. A decent feat for any class, but specially for agile monks
Alert – +5 to initiative, prevents you from being surprised if conscious, negates the advantage shroud opponents have on attack rolls when hiding from you. What ’ s not to love ?
Mage Slayer – Monks are capital against melee and even ranged attackers, but spellcasters may give them a problem. This feat gives you bonus attacks against persons attempting to cast spells and advantage on saving throws five spells. It besides gives disadvantage to a victim whose concentration you are trying to break. If you face a set of spellcasters in your campaign, this a capital feat for a monk to have .
Resilient – Gives you + 1 to an ability seduce of your choose and advantage on saving throws using that ability .
Optional Monk Features
In Tasha ’ s Cauldron of Everything every class got a set of optional features that act like a sort of upgrade patch to fix issues and improve things that needed improving. These features are technically optional, but assuming your DM allows them, make indisputable to include these classify features with your raw monk :
More or less, this lets you treat any weapon as a monk weapon if you focus on it for a short rest. You still can ’ triiodothyronine turn fleshy weapons into monk weapons, so for the most part this international relations and security network ’ t a damage increase. very, what this does is solve the “ monk weapon ” trouble when you get a cool weapon, but it isn ’ t technically a monk weapon. immediately it is a dead letter .
A fortune of the ki abilities have had a utility program problem, in that using ki points for more attacks is often more useful than the other abilities and doing both drains ki points debauched. nowadays with this preferably major buff, you get to make an extra attack every go you spend a ki indicate. abruptly all those other ki abilities feel a lot stronger .
Gained at 4th level, this modern feature lets you spend 2 ki points to heal hit points equal to a scroll of your martial arts die + your proficiency bonus. Efficiency-wise this is lackluster healing at the cost of 2 ki, but it ’ s a free new accession and any heal when you ’ re about to die can be a lifeguard. just keep this newfangled feature in mind if you ’ re beaten up or you ’ re about to do a inadequate rest anyhow and would preferably not spend the hit die .
Gained at 5th level, this lets you potentially turn misses into hits at the price of 1 ki point per +2 bonus, up to +6 on an attack ! This is a true up buff that makes monks importantly stronger. The means 5e functions there will be a distribute of times where your attacks will only miss by a small bite, and it may cost ki but being able to force that wrong through is huge .
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end update : January 27, 2019
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