How to Play a Monk in 5e D&D

Like a blur, they appear from nowhere. Landing perfectly among the Drow soldiers. Without hesitation, a palm to the chest, a sweep of the leg, and lastly, a glowing strike to the neck. The latter caused the soldier to drop to his knees. Out for the count but not dead.

The monk stands still. A peaceful demeanor as the rest of the party catches up.

From out of the dark an arrow hurtles towards the monk’s heart. With no hesitation, the arrow is picked from the air, and thrown right back in the direction it came from. Within moments the Drow archer appears with the arrow perfectly embedded into their forehead. Dropping dead at the monk’s bare feet.

Table of Contents

Monks. They’re a special class that needs a little bit of careful thought when building one for your DnD campaign. They start a little weaker than any other class but once they get going they’re a great formidable tank and support fighter with lots of cool features and abilities.

You can play them however you like. No two monks are the same! 

Go straight down the middle with a traditional monk build that uses inner peace, balance, and calm. Or don’t. We have one in our campaign called Tan. She’s a thieving drunk runaway-from-a-fight lovable character. With one hell of a punch. Also loves eating eggs. I played one that was more of a tavern brawler type with the monk traits. Not calm and holy at all.

This guide will help you build your monk character and look at the class with all the exciting features and abilities that they come with.

Using This Guide

Everything in this Monk DnD guide has an emoji, ranking how useful a given ability or feature is to playing this class effectively.

βœ… Crucial to the build. You need this for the foundation of your monk build and will deliver bonuses that other features cannot provide.

πŸ†— Solid and great for the class. It will certainly help but you can live without it for the build.

⚠️ Debatable. Might work for some specific builds, but could be a wasted skill or feature, or just not as powerful as other choices.

β›” No. Leave it. A bad choice and could even be damaging for the build and cause issues further up as you level.

These rankings are meant to help you create an optimized class build. However, always remember that you can build your character however you want. 

And remember DnD isn’t a game where you need to win to have fun. Characters that have flaws and underpowered skills bring more flavor and character development to roleplay.

The Basics

I always feel when building a character that we don’t start getting to the details and character development until a few levels in. I always have a general idea of which way my character will go. So initial decisions when we start can be important. 

With a monk perhaps have an idea of their origins. Were they part of a monastery? Did they leave? Or were they asked to leave? Why did you enter the monastery? Were you a criminal? A runaway? Hiding from your past? Did your parents make you join?

Think about why they are out in the world adventuring. I find it helps with the overall build.

Hit Dice

Landing with a solid d8 hit dice puts the monk in the same league as a ranger, warlock, rogue class. Not quite as tough as the fighter or barbarian but perfect as support.

Saving Throws

You are proficient in Dexterity and Strength saving throws. Not bad, both pretty useful, but are more of the physical nature of things rather than mental. 


Ok, so this is interesting. No armor or shield proficiencies. Yup, you read that correctly. But don’t panic, we’ll come to how your AC is worked out in a little bit. 

Also, monks get simple weapons and shortswords. However, monks tend to use their fists and feet as their main weapons.


As a monk, you get to choose two skills from acrobatics, athletics, history, insight, religion, and stealth. Acrobatics, athletics, stealth, or insight should be part of your two choices. Unless it’s part of your flavor, leave history and religion for the cleric in your party.

Ability Scores

⚠️ Strength

As the monk gets Strength saves, having an ok Strength modifier is nice but not necessary.

βœ… Dexterity

This is the one. This is the monk’s most crucial ability stat. They use it from attack bonuses and AC mods to avoiding AOE damage. This should be your highest ability score. 

πŸ†— Constitution

Important. will beef up your d8 hit dice with a nice modifier.

β›” Intelligence

Generally a dump stat. Handy if you have some knowledge skills.

βœ… Wisdom

A lot of monk builds online put this in the ok bracket but I’m going for essential as it pumps up your AC and your KI save DC. It comes second after your Dexterity ability score.

β›” Charisma

Dump. A monk doesn’t have to be charismatic. 

Which Races Are Best for the Monk Class?

This DnD monk race guide is for if you’re optimizing your character. Anything with a Dexterity and Wisdom modifier is perfect. Some nice race features that work well with monks will be acknowledged also.

I will say one thing though, and this depends on your DM. Some DMs allow the modifiers to be applied to any of the abilities. Known as a customized origin. This means you can play that bouncy bugbear or dexterous dwarf if that’s your bag. Even if this isn’t the case, play the race you want to because it’s your character build after all.

βœ… Aarakocra

Almost designed for monks. With a Dexterity +2 and Wisdom +1. It is made for the monk. Adding the ability to fly just gives this monk build the edge. Swoop, punch, punch, and swoop away.


Darkvision and Healing hands are ok but not enough to choose this race. All Aasimers have a +2 to Charisma, which isn’t great or useful for a monk build.

  • β›” Fallen+1 to Strength. Nope.
  • ⚠️ Protector+1 to Wisdom but not enough of an increase.
  • β›” ScourgeCon +1 ok but no.

πŸ†— Bugbear

A nice contender for a monk build. Although +2 to Strength and +1 to Dexterity aren’t great monk modifiers. It’s the Bugbear’s extra features that give it an edge. Darkvison is always great to have but a +5 ft attack reach and extra 2D6 for surprise attacks are even better. 

β›” Centaur

Nothing special here as your Strength score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1. The Hooves can be used as an attack, but it’s strength-based. The Charge ability is ok but not essential for a monk build.

β›” Changeling

With a Charisma +2 and another ability +1 plus no real decent monk-focused special abilities. Not even shapeshifting. Sorry, Changelings!

β›” Dragonborn

Apart from a breath weapon, pretty much all of the different Dragonborn classes are a bit trash.


Constitution score increases by 2 plus Darkvision and resistance to poison. This is good, although Monks do get immunity to poison at level 10.

  • ⚠️ Hill Dwarf – Your Wisdom score increases by 1 and 1 hp per level are nice but that’s it.
  • β›” Mountain Dwarf+2 to Strength. No point.
  • β›” Duergar (Gray Dwarf)+1 Strength. You have an advantage on saving throws against illusions and against being charmed or paralyzed. Maybe.


Ok so elves get +2 to Dex, proficiency in the Perception skill, advantage on charmed spell saving throws, and magic can’t put you to sleep. All really great for a monk class.

  • β›” Drow – Nothing useful.
  • β›” Eladrin – Nope.
  • β›” Eladrin (Variant) – Nein.
  • β›” High Elf – Nothing special here.
  • πŸ†— Pallid+1 to Wisdom is good with advantages on investigation and insight. Handy. 
  • πŸ†— Sea Elf+1 Con, nice. Plus a faster swim speed.
  • πŸ†— Shadar-KaiTeleportation is cool and +1 to con is good.
  • βœ… Wood Elf – With a +1 Wisdom, 35ft base walking speed, and the ability to hide. This is the type of elf you want for your monk class.

πŸ†— Firbolg

A +1 Strength and +2 Wisdom is a good base for a monk. A Dexterity bonus would be better. A few other bonuses don’t really do much for the monk class.


Bonus to Constitution is nice but not essential for a monk build.

  • ⚠️ Air+1 Dex, nothing else is special for the monk.
  • β›” Earth – Nothing for the monk.
  • β›” Fire  – Nothing for the monk.
  • ⚠️ Water – Small Wisdom bonus, but that’s really it.


In general, the little Intelligence bonus isn’t really useful for the monk. 

  • β›” Githyanki – Nope.
  • ⚠️ GithzeraiWisdom bonus is ok. 


The +2 increase in Intelligence is wasted on a monk. 

  • ⚠️ Forest+1 Dex is ok. Bit of a weak build unless you roll well.
  • β›” Rock – Not good for the monk class.
  • ⚠️ Deep – Same as a forest Gnome with a +1 to Dex. Long Darkvision and advantage on stealth is alright.

πŸ†— Goblin

With a +2 to Dex and a little in Constitution the Goblin isn’t a bad build for a monk. Darkvision and nimble escape are quite fun additions for the monk.

β›” Goliath

No point.

πŸ†— Grung

A +2 Dex and +1 Con isn’t half bad for the frog-like creatures. Breathing air and water plus immunity to poison damage. And proficiency in Perception makes the Grung not bad as a monk class.


The big Charisma increase is wasted for a monk and the +1 to two other abilities is ok.

  • β›” Aquatic Half-Elf – Nothing to see here for the monk.
  • β›” Drow Half-Elf – Nothing really for the monk.
  • β›” High Half-ElfBooming blade a waste for the monk. 
  • ⚠️ Standard Half-Elf – The big Charisma increase is wasted for a monk and the +1 to two other abilities is ok.
  • β›” Wood Half-Elf – Not as good as a pure wood elf monk build. 

β›” Half-Orc

Nothing really for the monk.


A decent Dexterity increase and a few abilities can work well for the monk but can depend on which racial subclass.

  • βœ… Ghostwise – With an increase in Wisdom this is a good monk base build. 
  • ⚠️ LightfootCharisma bonus is a waste.
  • βœ… Lotusden – With an increase in Wisdom this is another good monk base build.
  • πŸ†— StoutIncrease to Constitution is nice. Poison saving throw advantages are wasted for later level monks.

β›” Hobgoblin

Your Constitution score increases by 2, and your Intelligence score increases by 1. Not good for a monk build.


  • πŸ†— StandardAbility score increase right across the board. Standard humans are always good for a monk build.
  • βœ… VariantTwo +1 to any ability, an extra skill, and a feat. Feats are very handy for monks to get some great abilities. The variant human is a top-level monk class build.

⚠️ Kalashtar

With a decent Wisdom bonus, the Kalashtar isn’t bad. Charisma increase is a waste. 

βœ… Kenku

With a large Dex bonus and a small Wisdom bonus the Kenku is a fantastic monk build. Darkvision and the extra skills come in really handy.

βœ… Kobold

Both a Dexterity score increases by 2 and pack tactics are really good for a monk build. Kobold is king monk.

β›” Leonin

Even the decent Constitution score increase isn’t worth it. 

⚠️ Lizardfolk

A Constitution +2 and a +1 Wisdom is a good start. The 13 AC natural armor bonus works excellent with the monk build. The lack of Dexterity bonus isn’t a help to the build though.

⚠️ Locathah

An ok race for a monk with a +1 to Dexterity but the +2 to Strength is a waste. Leviathan will is a handy defense for a monk.

⚠️ Loxodon

The decent Constitution score increases of 2 and Wisdom score increases by 1 is ok for a monk build. Lack of Dexterity bonus though. Trunk skills are quite useful.

β›” Minotaur

Not a good monk build.

β›” Orc

Not for a monk.

⚠️ Satyr

Dexterity bonus is ok, but the Charisma score is a waste. Advantage on spell saves is a nice skill but not essential for the monk.


Shifters get an overall +1 to Dexterity, Perception proficiency, and Darkvision. All handy for a monk build.

  • ⚠️ Beasthide – With a decent Constitution increase, this isn’t a bad build. The extra 1D6 Hit dice and +1 to AC are handy when you’ve shifted.
  • β›” Longtooth – The large Strength bonus increase is wasted on a monk.
  • πŸ†— Swiftstride – With that large +2 to Dexterity, the proficiency in the Acrobatics skill and an increase in walking speed a decent monk build. Let’s not talk about the Charisma increase.
  • πŸ†— Wildhunt  – +1 Dexterity and +2 Wisdom is great. While shifted, you have an advantage on Wisdom checks also. A solid monk race.

πŸ†— Tabaxi

A good Dexterity increase with climbing skills, a burst of speed, and proficiency in the Perception and Stealth skills makes a great monk build. Charisma score is a waste.


Darkvision and fire-resistant are good but the only real good Tiefling monk build is the Feral build.

  • β›” Standard – Not for a monk.
  • β›” Asmodeus – Not for a monk.
  • β›” Baalzebul – Not for a monk.
  • ⚠️ Dispater – Dex increase is ok.
  • β›” Fierna  – Not for a monk.
  • ⚠️ Dispater – Dex increase is ok.
  • β›” Levistus – Not for a monk.
  • β›” Mammon – Not for a monk.
  • β›” Mephistopheles – Not for a monk.
  • β›” Zariel – Not for a monk.
  • β›” Variant: Devil’s Tongue – Not for a monk.
  • πŸ†— Variant: FeralDexterity increase is good. 
  • β›” Variant: Hellfire – Not for a monk.
  • β›” Variant: WingedFlight but that’s it.

⚠️ Tortle

Not the best monk build but who wouldn’t want to play a Teenage Mutant Ninja Tortle? Small Wisdom increase and a decent AC to start makes the Tortle an ok build for the monk class. 

β›” Triton

Not a great monk build.

⚠️ Vedalken

Nothing really for a monk build apart from a bit of Wisdom. The saving throws are good though.

β›” Verdan

Nothing for monks here.

πŸ†— Warforged

A decent Constitution bonus plus another bonus in any ability. Possibly in Dexterity? The +1 one AC bonus is good with some nice advantages such as advantage on saving throws against being poisoned, immunity to disease, and can’t be put to sleep by magic.

A solid race to build a good monk.

β›” Yuan-Ti Pureblood

Not a good monk build.

Monk Class Features

Most of the monk abilities are pretty sweet, giving you some nice extra skills and features as you level your build.

I’ve included the optional class features here. Not all DMs allow them so take that into account.

1st Level

βœ… Unarmored Defense

No armor or shield. If you get your Dexterity and Wisdom high enough, you can get a great AC. 

Your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier. No expensive armor is needed. For example, if both your Dex and Wis were 18. Your AC would be 18 (10 + 4 + 4). Not bad eh?

βœ… Martial Arts

This is why you’re here. To strike, punch, hit, sweep, kick, etc.

  • You use your Dexterity mod rather than your Strength for attacks.
  • Your fists are your weapons and start at level one as 1D4 damage. Increases as you go up the Monk levels.
  • When you attack with an unarmed strike or monk weapon, you can make one unarmed strike as a bonus action.

2nd Level


The mystic energy that fuels the monk class. A bit like the force if you’re that way inclined. You get so many Ki points to startβ€”that increase as you go up the levels.

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

  • πŸ†— Flurry of Blows

After your attack action you can spend a Ki to do two more attacks. Strike! Punch! Sweep! Better at higher levels.

  • βœ… Patient Defense

Use a Ki point to use the Dodge action as a bonus action. Duck! Super handy.

  • πŸ†— Step of the Wind

Spend a Ki to Disengage or Dash as a bonus action. Runaway! Not a bad skill.

βœ… Unarmored Movement

Your speed increases and goes up at certain levels. A further improvement on this at level 9

πŸ†— Dedicated Weapon (Optional)

You can train yourself to use different weapons. After a long or short rest, you can touch a weapon and make it into a monk weapon. It’s situational and works for some of the monk subclasses. It can increase weapon damage if you choose the right weapon. You’d rather hit with fists, right?

  • The weapon must be a simple or martial weapon.
  • You must be proficient with it.
  • It must lack the heavy and special properties.

3rd Level

βœ… Monastic Tradition

Subclass decision time! More on Monk subclasses later.

πŸ†— Deflect Missiles

If you’re getting fired at by an archer or crossbow you can use your reaction to deflect the projectile and reduce the damage. 1d10 + your Dexterity modifier + your monk level. If it goes to 0, you can spend a Ki point and throw it back at the enemy. Nice.

βœ… Ki-Fueled Attack (Optional)

If you spent a Ki point as part of an action on your turn–not necessarily an attack. You can make one attack as part of your bonus action.

4th Level

⚠️ Slow Fall

This is a situational skill. Reduce your damage if you fall off something. But as a monk, you definitely shouldn’t lose your balance.

⚠️ Quickened Healing (Optional)

Use two Ki points as an action and you can regain some hit points. Not the greatest of the monk class optional features.

5th Level

βœ… Extra Attack

Hell yeah! You can do three attacks or four if you add the flurry of blows ability! Punch! Punch! Punch! Jab!

βœ… Stunning Strike

Spend a Ki, stun an enemy. Simple. If they fail the DC of course.

πŸ†— Focused Aim (Optional)

If you miss an attack, you can use up to three Ki points to increase the attack roll. Each Ki point is worth 2 points. Good if you’re trying to knock that last foe down.

6th Level

βœ… Ki-Empowered Strikes

Magic hands! And feet. Your strikes are now classed as magical weapons.

7th Level

βœ… Evasion

A great ability. Able to take half or no damage on an AOE attack. Like Fireball for example.

πŸ†— Stillness of Mind

Use an action to end a charmed or frightened effect. 

9th Level

πŸ†— Unarmored Movement improvement

A fun skill. You can run across water or some sort of liquid and vertical surfaces. Parkour.

10th Level

πŸ†— Purity of Body

Immunity to poison and disease. It’s ok but very situational.

13th Level

⚠️ Tongue of the Sun and Moon

If you touch another being that you don’t know the language of. You can understand and speak to them. 

However, you’ve probably got someone in your party that can do this with a skill or spell.

14th Level

βœ… Diamond Soul

A very very handy feature at 14th level. Firstly you get proficiency in all saving throws. And, you can spend a Ki to reroll any saves you fail.

15th Level

β›” Timeless Body

A pretty useless feature that is very situational. You can’t be aged magically, and don’t need food or water. In saying all this my DM has aged our party magically before, so…

18th Level

βœ… Empty Body

Spend four Ki points and become invisible for one minute. Great for sneaking about. Plus you can’t take any damage apart from force damage. You can spend eight Ki points which grants you the Astral Projection spell. Check out the other planes.

20th Level

βœ… Perfect Self

If you have no Ki points and at the beginning of combat, when you roll initiative you get four Ki points. Nice.

Monk Subclasses

At level three you get to choose your monk’s subclass or for the monk build it’s known as a monastic tradition.

For those of you that don’t know, a subclass is a choice that every character gets at level 3 and expands your main class’s features as they rise through the levels.

I’m going to give you a brief run-down of each class and what it entails with a snapshot guide score. We will be doing a whole guide to monk subclasses which we’ll link in this guide. I’ve also included where each subclass is from so you can read up if you like.

Player Tip: Monastic Tradition Choice

Before you choose your path read up on every subclass to make sure you know how they work and what special abilities arrive with each one. This is essential and will help you mold your Monk build even further.

πŸ†— Way of the Astral Self – Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

With this monastic tradition, you get to summon part of your Astral self. A little bit like a ghost version of your monk. It starts with the arms. As you go up in monk levels you get the visage and eventually the whole body. Each one is able to add bonuses, features, and attacks to your overall class build. Ghost punching is the way!

βœ… Way of the Drunken Master – Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Despite its name, it doesn’t actually involve drinking a lot of booze and running into a fight blind drunk. It’s more of an essence of someone who could have had too many beers. 

It’s a really great subclass with quite a lot of emphasis on running in, punching a few times, and then running away again. With abilities such as Drunken Technique, Drunkard’s Luck, and Intoxicated Frenzy you can kind of get the idea. Great for a monk with a low Constitution. Run, punch, run away!

πŸ†— Way of the Four Elements – Player’s Handbook

You’ve guessed it, the way of the four elements is exactly that. Using the magic of the Fire, air, earth, and water. Using the magic of the four elements, you get to choose which disciplines as you move up through the levels. 

There are a lot of options here which are really good. You can focus on one element or bring many together. You use Ki points to cast each of the elemental spells. Some of the elemental disciplines are better than others and some are situational. Not a bad way for a monk subclass.

⚠️ Way of the Kensei – Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Weapons, weapons, weapons. That’s right, the Way of the Kensai is a weapons-based monastic tradition. If you love the idea of your monk fighting with weapons as well as your fists. This subclass is definitely for you. 

Unfortunately, there are a few things that make this subclass a little poor. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything optional monk rule, Dedicated Weapon, makes the Kensai’s specialty in weapons a little redundant. But if you love the thought of your monk jumping around waving and mastering a whip or a spear with some nice attack and defense features, don’t let that put you off. Remember, this is your build.

βœ… Way of the Long Death – Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide

A really nice monastic tradition all focused on the subject of death. Obsessed with death, monks who take this subclass get some great features that give your monk some nice tanky options such as Touch of Death and Mastery of Death. Not great offensive abilities, but great nonetheless. Death curious? This one’s for you.

βœ… Way of Mercy – Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

Wander the land handing out healing to the poor and sick or if they’re too far gone, bring a swift end as an act of mercy.

Another newer one from Tasha’s and a really interesting monastery tradition that’s built around medicine. You get a mask to wear for a start. You gain proficiencies in Insight, Medicine and the herbalism kit.

You can both healing and wound inflicting attacks, making this a great support subclass. Punch! Heal! Punch! Repeat.

πŸ†— Way of the Open Hand – Player’s Handbook

If you want to play a straight-down-the-line traditional monk that’s an expert in unarmed martial arts, then this monastic tradition is for you.

 A complete vanilla monk with some great offensive and defensive special abilities. Nothing fancy, but a fantastic subclass for the complete martial artist in you.

With the Open Hand Technique at level three and the Quivering Palm attack further up the levels, you get some nice damage attacks with this monk tradition. 

βœ… Way of the Shadow – Player’s Handbook

If you can’t decide whether to play a monk or a rogue and you don’t want multiclass into rogue this monastic tradition is the perfect one for you. It takes a lot of thief skills and merges them into the Monk class allowing you to get the essence of the Rogue.

With abilities such as Pass without a trace, Silence, and Shadow step your monk gets to be the Rogue they never had the chance of being.

⚠️ Way of the Sun Soul – Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Channel the power of the sun and unleash the beast upon unsuspecting enemies. Lots of sun-based ranged attacks with the Sun Soul monastic tradition. 

This could be a great subclass, but you can get more fun options with the Way of the Four Elements. It’s a shame because it could be a fantastic class, but not enough alternative options to make it great.

Monk Weapons

Monks don’t get many weapons, but they can be useful at lower levels while building up your monk’s unarmed attacks. 

Firstly, monk weapons deal their base damage or your Martial Arts damage, whichever one is greater. This is excellent news! 

You also use your Dexterity modifier with any of the weapons. So the only question is what damage does it do, and if it’s ranged. How far can it go?

⚠️ Dart

Small damage and Javelins can fly further but nice as a hidden weapon for RP flavor.

πŸ†— Javelin

Good range but not as versatile as the spear!

βœ… Handaxe

I have a massive love for hand axes. My Rogue Swashbuckler wields two. Ahem. For the Monk a solid choice for slashing and can be thrown. Handy. 

πŸ†— Quarterstaff

Can’t be thrown but looks incredibly cool. Focus on your inner Donatello.

β›” Short Sword

Hand axes are better.

βœ… Spear

The best monk weapon. Decent damage and can be thrown. Long and pointy. What more do you need?

Selected Monk Feats

I could list all the feats here and why they’re good, but we’ll do a dedicated feat article later plus this article would be massive if I did!. So I’m going to choose a select few great and good feats for monks.

βœ… Alert

+5 to Initiative. Get your punches in first! Plus can’t be surprised when conscious and no advantage on attack rolls for enemies as a result of being unseen by you.

βœ… Athlete

+1 to Dexterity. Essential to get the monks Dex up for many reasons, as discussed earlier in the article. Also some nice move

βœ… Charger

When you choose your action to Dash, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack or shove an enemy.

πŸ†— Durable

Constitution increase +1 and hit point roll bonuses are nice.

βœ… Mobile

Speed goes up by +10 ft. Add that to the other speed bonuses for monks, and you can be super fast. 

When using the Dash action, difficult terrain doesn’t cost any extra movement. When attacking a creature with melee, you don’t provoke opportunity attacks from that creature for the rest of the turn, even if you don’t hit them.

πŸ†— Lucky

To be honest. Really good for any class. With 3 Luck points, you get to reroll attacks, ability checks, or saving throws.

πŸ†— Observant

Increase your Wisdom by +1. Nice. You can read a creature’s lips if you can see it talking. You get a +5 bonus to your passive Wisdom (Perception) and passive Intelligence (Investigation) scores.

πŸ†— Savage Attacker

Reroll damage once per turn and use either total.

πŸ†— Skill Expert

Increase your proficiency in any three skills or tools of your choice. Great for building out the flavor of the Monk.

βœ… Tough

A solid choice if your Constitution score isn’t great. Get extra hit points. Perfect for the Monk.

Monk Multiclass

I’ll say this. Monks work best as a pure class because of the way the monk build works. To get the best out of your character go pure monk.

However, who doesn’t love to multiclass and a dip here and there certainly didn’t hurt anyone. So I’ve got some examples of where a little bit of another class

πŸ†— Druid

Being one with the Earthen Mother living in the wilderness really sits in symmetry with the Monk class.

Multiclassing with a Druid has a few decent perks. Both use Wisdom as one of their primary abilities, so it is perfect. Depending on how far you go, you’ll get access to some spells which will support your Monk. Especially healing spells like Healing Word and Cure Wounds.

If you go for the Way of Mercy monastic tradition, you’ve basically got a hand-to-hand healer. Works well if you don’t have a Cleric in the party. 

πŸ†— Cleric

Pray and Punch! If the wilderness is not your thing, you could take a few classes in Cleric, where you also get some healing spells like the Druid class.

You can also get a few low-level offensive spells such as Toll the Dead and Sacred flame. Which works as great ranged damage if needed.

Again, like multiclassing with a Druid, if you go for the Way of Mercy monastic tradition, you’ve basically got a hand-to-hand healer.

πŸ†— Fighter

A classic multiclass combination. With a few levels in the Fighter class, you get some nice abilities such as fighting style, second wind, and action surge.

These special abilities complement the monk and add another dimension to the character.

βœ… Rogue

I think if you were to choose any of the multiclass options a Monk/Rogue class is a fantastic pairing. With the sneak and dodge skills of the Rogue matched with the unarmed combat of the Monk it really makes you into a stealthy ninja fighting machine. 

Plus with sneak attack, you get the ability to cause further damage when punching your enemies.

Monk Magic Items

There are a few decent magic items that can enhance your Monk character. Some that I have used in the past with my Monk build. There are so many magic items available so I’ve listed a select few.


βœ… Cloak of Elvenkind

Advantage on Stealth rolls, disadvantage on Wisdom rolls for your foe trying to find you.


βœ… Amulet of Health

Brings your Constitution up to 19. Perfect and Hit Pointastic.

βœ… Braces of Defence

No armor. No shield. No problem. As the Monk doesn’t use either. With a high Dexterity and Wisdom plus these, your AC can be decent.

πŸ†— Cloak of Displacement

Confuse enemies with a self-illusion. Gives them disadvantage on attack rolls.

Very Rare

βœ… Manual of Bodily Health

Read a book on magical health tips and recipes gain +2 to your Constitution. Delicious.

πŸ†— Monk Weapon +3

If you went the Way of Kensai or even if you didn’t, this is a fantastic magical item to have.


βœ… Cloak of Invisibility

Does what it says on the Tin. Go invisible for up to 2 hours. Great for stealthy monk builds.

I hope this guide is useful to you and gives you some foundations on how to build a top-class Monk character. Monks can be a hard class to build so we hope that this guide steers you in the right direction. 

I used a similar guide to build my Monk character, Rulan. I found that using a guide was an absolute necessity when getting that perfect build. He was more of a city brawler than a spiritual walker. With a bounty hunter background, he punched his bounties before bringing them in. A really fun character to play. 

We’d love to see your Monk builds and ideas on how a Monk character should be built. Any tips or tricks we’ve missed, drop them in the comments below. We’d love to hear what Monk builds you all have come up with and how they’ve turned out as they rise through the levels.

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