The Monk is one of D&D’s more mysterious classes. Their unique weapon options, burst powers, and multi-target striker feature make them stand out in combat.
DEX is essential here – without it your Monk won’t be able to roll well enough for any of their class features that require it. CON is helpful but not essential unless you’re using a Grapple build.
When selecting a race for your DnD 5e Monk character, there are several options to consider. Some races are tailored specifically for the class while others provide enhancements or complementation, such as providing them with abilities that work together harmoniously.
If you’re seeking the optimal option, look for a race that has Dexterity +2 and Wisdom +1. Additionally, it should possess some beneficial passive or synergistic racial features that support your Monk’s game plan.
Changlings of Eberron (Races of Destiny) offer some intriguing benefits for monkishly inclined individuals, including an additional +1 per level on social skill checks as well as a racial save bonus against mental effects and access to Quori shards by taking the Racial Emulation Changeling feat. Psionic Elan are another good option; they have Loss Altitude (+0) and receive two extra power points per character level, giving them an impressive reserve of power which they can spend to gain major bonuses on saves or reduce damage dealt to them in times of need.
Other psionic races include the Kalashtar, who possess powerful Quori shards. Furthermore, Kalashtars can take advantage of their race’s mindlink ability and gain an additional power point per character level.
Five hundred forty two halfling subraces exist in 5e, the Lotusden and Mark of Healing being two that offer a Dexterity bonus of +2. These subraces add several druidic spells that the monk can use during long rests, making them ideal for builds that focus more on secondary roles as healers or support characters.
Another strong option for the Monk is the Kenku. This race benefits from a +1 ability score bonus to perception and stealth, as well as immunity to falling damage – making them ideal candidates for using Battle Jumper feat or other acrobatic maneuvers enjoyed by Monks.
Wood elves make for an excellent option, as they possess both DEX and WIS increases, as well as proficiency in both skills. Furthermore, its constitution is strong with bonus resistances which further bolster its defenses.
The Monk is a support class that develops into a primary combatant and formidable source of damage. They possess immense versatility, with an array of skills and abilities which can be added to their build as they advance through the game.
First, select two weapon skills for use on the Monk. He or she typically only has access to simple shortswords and fists – unless they come across a magical weapon!
If you prefer a more traditional approach, you might want to select some ranged weapons. Ideally, look for either a bow or shortbow that allows for Extra Attack as well as Ki-Fueled Attack capabilities. If possible, pick one up and make sure it gets put to good use!
Your most significant ability stat is Dexterity, which determines your attacks, AC and defense. You may also opt to have a high Wisdom which will enhance all other abilities while giving you an additional bonus attack per level.
A strong Constitution will help you manage any small hit dice you receive, though it is not mandatory. Nonetheless, keeping it high can be beneficial at higher levels.
Strength is important if you plan to use a brawler or grappler style combat style. On the other hand, clerics don’t necessarily benefit from having higher STR values.
The next most crucial weapon skill is Martial Arts. This fundamental combat ability grants you the ability to attack as a bonus action with both hands and feet if your weapon has piercing damage type.
If you don’t already own a sword with Unerring Accuracy, ask your DM if they would allow you to pick one up. This feature can be invaluable as it will enable rerolling weapon attacks with Focused Aim when close enough to hit an enemy with it.
If you plan to do some heavy healing, Quickened Healing is a great choice. Not only is it economical and effective, but you won’t be able to utilize its full potential until after having some battle experience under your belt.
Monks are agile martial artists, relying on their agility to dodge and strike multiple times before an opponent even knows what hit them. Without armor, monks have no need for protective gear as their natural abilities allow them to climb walls quickly and escape danger.
Monks are much harder to track down than other classes, making them ideal for hiding in bushes or sneaking past enemies. To stay mobile, monks have access to Disengage or Dash as bonus actions as well as increased movement speed.
Monks often benefit from feats that combine their powers. Alert, for instance, gives you a chance to strike when an enemy is caught off-guard by your keen sense of smell; and Gift of the Gem Dragon allows telekinetic attacks combined with reactions when taking damage.
Another impressive feat is Hour of Reaping, which grants you a temporary hit point when you kill an enemy. This can be especially helpful when facing down a large group and need to pick off weak ones with assistance from allies.
Touch of Death, on the other hand, is an incredibly powerful single attack that replaces all your other attacks for the round. This makes it invaluable when dealing out lots of damage quickly. Plus, if multiple enemies need to be taken out simultaneously in one round, Touch of Death becomes especially useful as their turn becomes harder and harder to defeat once they take it.
Other viable options include Elemental Master, which prevents enemies from using Resistance against you; and Sentinel, which makes it impossible for an enemy to run away from you when making a successful opportunity attack – no matter if they disengage beforehand.
In addition to the feats listed, there are a few optional class features that can increase your Monk’s power and versatility. Selecting a race with additional skills is advantageous, though these are only optional and can be replaced by other feats or character builds.
Monks have a reputation for being unarmed warriors, though many do practice martial arts with weapons too. Trained to utilize their ki, or energy source, to deliver powerful unarmed strikes and ki-empowered attacks, monks make excellent self-protection options when facing down weapons.
The Dedicated Weapon feature in 5e allows Monks to select any weapon they possess proficiency with as their replacement damage die. This is an excellent opportunity to acquire weapons not normally available as a Monk, such as the longsword or whip.
You must possess the Dedicated Weapon Optional Class Feature to make it work, and you may need to take a short or long rest in order to activate it. Once active, you can focus your ki on using this weapon for any attack or damage roll you make – whether it’s the first one of the turn or the last.
In addition to your Dedicated Weapon, you’ll also unlock Kensei Weapons. This is an invaluable skill for dealing ranged damage and allows you to utilize Focused Aim when bow-range attacking.
Another advantage is the option to select one of your Martial Arts attacks as an additional attack for your Dedicated Weapon, giving you two attacks per turn – especially useful if using Flurry of Blows.
Low-level Monks will find this to be a major advantage in terms of attack stats. You will have increased base damage from the spear at this level, leading to greater unarmed strike damage overall.
However, it’s essential to remember that you can only do this with one weapon at a time. Don’t try this on a dart or any other weapon you haven’t used before.
Ki is an effective weapon, but only if you can afford to spend it on a single attack each turn (or more frequently). At this level, the Stunning Strike feat will become your greatest ally as it helps rob creatures of their turns and fail their Strength and Dexterity saving throws against your attacks, leaving them vulnerable to unarmed strikes from you.