Talk:Monk (5A)

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Greatly modified monk in final state.

Monks are united in their ability to magically harness the energy that flows in their bodies. Whether channeled as a striking display of combat prowess or a subtler focus of defensive ability and speed, this energy infuses all that a monk does.

You must have two of Dexterity, Strength, or Wisdom with a score of 13 or higher in order to multiclass in or out of this class.

Monk Class

The Monk
Level Proficiency Bonus Martial Arts Ki Points Unarmored Movement Features
1st +2 d6 Unarmored Defense, Martial Arts
2nd +2 d6 2 +10 ft. Ki, Unarmored Movement
3rd +2 d6 3 +10 ft. Monastic Tradition, Deflect Missiles,
4th +2 d6 4 +10 ft. Ability Score Improvement, Slow Fall
5th +3 d8 5 +10 ft. Extra Attack, Stunning Strike, Focused Aim
6th +3 d8 6 +15 ft. Ki-Empowered Strikes, Monastic Tradition feature
7th +3 d8 7 +15 ft. Evasion, Stillness of Mind
8th +3 d8 8 +15 ft. Ability Score Improvement
9th +4 d8 9 +15 ft. Unarmored Movement improvement
10th +4 d8 10 +20 ft. Purity of Body
11th +4 d12 11 +20 ft. Monastic Tradition feature
12th +4 d12 12 +20 ft. Ability Score Improvement
13th +5 d12 13 +20 ft. Tongue of the Sun and Moon
14th +5 d12 14 +25 ft. Diamond Soul
15th +5 d12 15 +25 ft. Timeless Body
16th +5 d12 16 +25 ft. Ability Score Improvement
17th +6 d20 17 +25 ft. Monastic Tradition feature
18th +6 d20 18 +30 ft. Empty Body
19th +6 d20 19 +30 ft. Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 d20 20 +30 ft. Perfect Self

Class Features

As a monk, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per monk level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per monk level after 1st


Armor: Light armor, medium armor.
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial melee weapons.
Tools: Choose one type of artisan's tools or one musical instrument
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Athletics, History, Insight, Religion, and Stealth

Equipment You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a shortsword or (b) any simple weapon
  • (a) a dungeoneer's pack or (b) an explorer's pack
  • (a) 10 darts or (b) leather armor

Unarmored Defense

Beginning at 1st level, while you are wearing no armor and not wielding a shield, your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier.

Martial Arts

At 1st level, your practice of martial arts gives you mastery of combat styles that use unarmed strikes and weapons. You gain the following benefits while you are unarmed or wielding only monk weapons and you aren't wearing armor or wielding a shield:

  • You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of your unarmed strikes and monk weapons, which are shortswords and any weapons that don't have the two-handed or heavy property.
  • You can roll a d6 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike or weapon. This die changes as you gain monk levels, as shown in the Martial Arts column of the Monk table.
  • When you use the Attack action with an unarmed strike or a weapon on your turn, you can make one unarmed strike as a bonus action. For example, if you take the Attack action and attack with a quarterstaff, you can also make an unarmed strike as a bonus action, assuming you haven't already taken a bonus action this turn.

Certain monasteries use specialized forms of the monk weapons. For example, you might use a club that is two lengths of wood connected by a short chain (called a nunchaku), a dart that is a star-shaped disc (called a shuriken) or a sickle with a shorter, straighter blade (called a kama). Whatever name you use for a monk weapon, you can use the game statistics provided for the weapon on the Weapons page.


Starting at 2nd level, your training allows you to harness the mystic energy of ki. Your access to this energy is represented by a number of ki points. Your monk level determines the number of points you have, as shown in the Ki Points column of the Monk table.

You can't spend Ki points while wearing heavy armor or wielding a shield.

When you spend a ki point, it is unavailable until you spend an action to perform the Dodge action. When you spend an action to perform a Dodge (not when you use Patient Defense or otherwise dodging without spending an action), you draw all of your expended ki back into yourself. This restores your Ki points to their maximum value. When you spend an action to Dodge in combat, as a part of this action, you can also make an Intelligence (History or Religion) check to recall knowledge regarding the situation at hand. This represents a flashback or inspiration related to your teachings.

You can spend these points to fuel various Ki features. You start knowing three such features: Flurry of Blows, Patient Defense, and Step of the Wind. You learn more ki features as you gain levels in this class.

Some of your ki features require your target to make a saving throw to resist the feature's effects. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:

Ki save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier

  • Flurry of Blows On your turn, you can spend 1 ki point to make an unarmed strike. You can only do this once per turn.
  • Patient Defense At any time you can spend 1 ki point to take the Dodge action. You can do this outside your own turn in response to an attack, and the result lasts until the start of your next turn.
  • Step of the Wind You can spend 1 ki point to take both the Dash and Disengage actions on your turn, and your jump distance is doubled for the turn.

Unarmored Movement

Starting at 2nd level, your speed increases by 10 feet while you are not wearing armor and not wielding a shield. This bonus increases when you reach certain monk levels, as shown in the Monk table.

When you are able to use unarmored movement you also get a bonus to jump distance. For every 5 ft. of unarmored movement bonus, your horizontal jump distance increases by 2 ft. and your vertical jump distance increases by 1 ft.

At 9th level, you gain the ability to move along vertical surfaces and across liquids on your turn without falling during the move. You must still end your turn in a position legal without this ability, or you suffer the normal effects.

Dedicated Weapon

Monastic Tradition

Cleric Domains
  1. Arcane Adept5A
  2. Ascendant Dragon
  3. Astral Self
  4. Drunken Master
  5. Four Elements
  6. Frozen BloodEN
  7. Infinite WorldsEN
  8. IrreverenceEN
  9. Kensei
  10. Long Death
  11. Mercy
  12. One Element5A
  13. Open Hand
  14. Primeval5A
  15. Shadow
  16. Soft Whisper5A
  17. Spiral Monk5A
  18. Sun Soul
  19. Tranquility
  20. Turtle5A
  21. Wild5A

When you reach 3rd level, you commit yourself to a monastic tradition. Your tradition grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 11th, and 17th level.

Deflect Missiles

Starting at 3rd level, you can deflect the missile when you are hit by a ranged weapon attack. You gain resistance to damage from thrown and ranged weapon attacks. When you do so, the damage you take from the attack is reduced by 1d10 + your Dexterity modifier + your monk level.

If you reduce the damage to 0, you can catch the missile if it is small enough for you to hold in one hand and you have at least one hand free. You can spend a reaction to catch the missile if it is small enough for you to hold in one hand and you have at least one hand free. If you catch a missile in this way, you can spend 1 ki point to make a ranged attack with a range of 20/60 using the weapon or piece of ammunition you just caught, as part of the same reaction. You make this attack with proficiency, regardless of your weapon proficiencies, and the missile counts as a monk weapon for the attack.

Ki-Fueled Attack (Optional)

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Slow Fall

Beginning at 4th level, while wearing no or light armor and not wielding a shield, you can use your reaction when you fall to reduce any falling damage you take by an amount equal to five times your monk level.

Quickened Healing

Also at 4th level, as an action, you can spend up to 3 ki points. For each ki point you spend, roll your martial arts die. You regain a number of hit points equal to the total rolled. You can use this ability once. You regain the ability at the end of a long or short rest.

Extra Attack

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Stunning Strike

Starting at 5th level, you can interfere with the flow of ki in an opponent's body. When you hit another creature with a melee weapon attack, you can spend 1 ki point to attempt a stunning strike. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or be stunned until the end of your next turn.

Focused Aim

Also at 5th level, when you miss with an attack roll, you can spend 1 to 3 ki points to increase your attack roll by 2 for each of these ki points you spend, potentially turning the miss into a hit.

Ki-Empowered Strikes

Starting at 6th level, your unarmed strikes count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.


At 7th level, your instinctive agility lets you dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a blue dragon's lightning breath or a fireball spell. When you are wearing no armor or light armor and not wielding a shield and are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail

Stillness of Mind

Starting at 7th level, at the start of your turn, you can end one effect on yourself that is causing you to be charmed or frightened. When you do so you cannot take an action on this turn.

Purity of Body

At 10th level, your mastery of the ki flowing through you makes you immune to disease and poison.

Tongue of the Sun and Moon

Starting at 13th level, you learn to touch the ki of other minds so that you understand all spoken languages. Moreover, any creature that can understand a language can understand what you say.

Diamond Soul

Beginning at 14th level, your mastery of ki grants you proficiency in all saving throws.

Additionally, whenever you make a saving throw and fail, you can spend 1 ki point to reroll it and take the second result.

Timeless Body

At 15th level, your ki sustains you so that you suffer none of the frailty of old age, and you can't be aged magically. You can still die of old age, however.

In addition, you are immune to the paralyzed and stunned conditions and no longer need air, food, or water.

Empty Body

Beginning at 18th level, when not wearing armor and not wielding a shield, you gain two abilities.

  • You can use a bonus action to spend 4 ki points to become invisible for 1 minute. During that time, you also have resistance to all damage but force damage.
  • You can spend 8 ki points to cast the Astral Projection spell, without needing material components.

When you do so, you can't take any other creatures with you.

Perfect Self

At 20th level, when you start your turn, roll for initiative and have no ki points remaining, you regain 4 ki points up to your normal maximum.

Monk Monastic Disciplines

  1. Arcane Adept5A
  2. Ascendant Dragon
  3. Astral Self
  4. Drunken Master
  5. Four Elements
  6. Frozen BloodEN
  7. Infinite WorldsEN
  8. IrreverenceEN
  9. Kensei
  10. Long Death
  11. Mercy
  12. One Element5A
  13. Open Hand
  14. Primeval5A
  15. Shadow
  16. Soft Whisper5A
  17. Spiral Monk5A
  18. Sun Soul
  19. Tranquility
  20. Turtle5A
  21. Wild5A

Monks and Armor

Some of the monk's features work differently in different kinds of armors, summarized here. Note that the monk does not gain proficiency in heavy armor or shields. The table also lists which level each ability is gained at, and the Ki cost, and what action is used.

Monk Abilities and Armor
Ability Monk Level Ki Cost Action No Armor Light Armor Medium Armor Heavy Armor or Shield
Unarmored Defense 1 0
Martial Arts 1 0 Bonus Action
Ki 2 1
Unarmored Movement 2 0
Deflect Missiles 3 0 Reaction
Slow fall 4 0 Reaction
Quickened healing 4 1-3 Action
Extra Attack 5 0 Action
Stunning Strike 5 1
Focused Aim 5 1-3
Ki-Empowered Strikes 6 0
Evasion 7 0
Stillness of Mind 7 0 Action
Purity of Body 10 0
Tongue of the Sun and Moon 13 0
Diamond Soul 14 1
Timeless Body 15 0
Empty Body 18 4 Bonus Action
Perfect Self 20 0

Editor's Notes

The elephant in the room for monks is the lack of ki points. This version solves the problem by renewing the ki pool with the dodge action. This naturally creates other problems, that had to be solved with things like limited uses per day.

The other major issue with the monk is lack of defenses, the monk has mediocre hot points an a poor armor class, yet is supposed to be a front-line combatant. My solution is that a monk can dodge (without regaining ki) simply by spending a point of ki. This should give the monk defenses on par with other melee combatants and with a flavor of its own.

There is also a major change in that none of the abilities covered under the Ki ability now require an action. This includes the dodge mentioned above, but also flurry of blows - which now gives one additional attack, which combined with martial arts gives the same number of attack with the same cost as before.

Inspired by Treantmonk, I gave monks the ability to use light and medium armor. I also gave them access to martial weapons, but the ability to use weapons with Dex remains mostly as it was. This allowed me to add monk weapons to the weapon table that certainly are not simple weapons. It also opens the possibility of Strength based monks. I made a table that clearly shows which abilities work with which types of armor, you give up quite a lot in order to use medium armor.

I also increased the martial arts die up to an alarming d20. This also matches Treeantmonk's damage calculation, I bow to his experience there. The idea is to increase the die average by about 50% with each improvement, and going from d12 to d20 does that. The biggest issue here is really that the step from d6 to d8 is too small, ideally a 1st-level monk should have a d5 martial arts die, but lets not go into new dice.

Minor changes include:

  • Unarmored movement now gives a jump bonus
  • Deflect missiles is greatly simplified and normally does not use a reaction
  • Quickened healing is once per rest because ki is no longer a limit outside of combat.
  • Stillness of mind now actually works.
  • Timeless body gained some actual utility,
  • Perfect self now recovers ki points every turn. Astral Projection now works on others. A single-target astral projection is next to useless, these are things you do as a team.

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