Monk 5e Guide: Dungeons & Dragons


This Monk 5e Guide

All the most important details about the Monk class with be covered in this Monk 5e Guide. Details regarding the Monastic Traditions, Monk abilities, potential multi-classing opportunities, and the strengths of the Monk class will be discussed in this Monk 5e Guide.

The Monk Class

The Monk class is one of the most unique classes in D&D 5e. Monks gain benefits from not wearing armor, have a well of ki points that they can expend to take unique actions, and deal far more damage than usual using unarmed strikes. Monks tend to be rather quiet and isolated from society, so social interaction could be difficult for some.

Related: Learn how to calculate the armor class in 5E!

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: none
Weapons: Simple Weapons, shortswords
Tools: any one type of artisan’s tools or any one musical instrument of your choice
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Athletics, History, Insight, Religion, and Stealth


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 * 10 darts.

Monk Multi-classing

The Monk is a class that really doesn’t require or suggest a multi-class, but there are a few possibilities worth considering that could aid a Monk in areas they might struggle.

Bard + Monk

The Bard primarily serves as a buffer of nearby allies before and during combat. The Monk is incredibly adept at close combat, so this multi-class offers a character the ability to buff their allies before racing into the fight to throw some punches.

Sorcerer + Monk

The Sorcerer is a powerful spellcaster with innate magical ability. This multi-class offers the Monk spellcasting abilities that they otherwise would not have access to.

Wizard + Monk

The Wizard class focuses entirely on the ability to cast powerful spells. This multi-class offers the Monk extra abilities and options, should things not go as planned in hand to hand combat. It is also notable that the Monk should have a free hand for a Spellbook, given their usual lack of melee weapons.

Monastic Traditions

At Level Three, the Monk must declare allegiance to a Monastic Traditions. There are nine approved Monastic Traditions in D&D 5e. Those are: Astral Self, Drunken Master, Four Elements, Kensei, Long Death, Mercy, Open Hand, Shadow, Sun Soul. The abilities granted by the Monk’s chosen Monastic Tradition will have long lasting implications, so choose carefully.

Astral Self – A Tradition that uses illusion to aid them in combat.
Drunken Master –  A Tradition that teaches unorthodox movements.
Four Elements – A Tradition that allows the Monk to harness the elements.
Kensei – A Tradition that emphasizes the use of Monk weapons.
Long Death –  A Tradition that obsesses over death and dying.
Mercy – A Tradition that teaches the virtue behind mercy.
Open Hand – A Tradition that teaches how to physically influence enemies.
Shadow – A Tradition that emphasizes the importance of stealth.
Sun Soul –
A Tradition that allows energy to be turned into bolts of light.

Monk Level Breakdown

At Level One, the Monk is an expert in Unarmored Defense, which grants and Armor Class of 10 + Dexterity Modifier + Wisdom Modifier. Also at Level One, the Monk knows Martial Arts, which allows the Monk to use Dexterity instead of Strength on attack and damage rolls with unarmed strikes, roll a d4 for the damage roll of any unarmed strike, and make an additional unarmed strike following a first as a bonus action. At Level Two, the Monk unlocks the power of ki, a mystic energy that can be harnessed to great effect in hand to hand combat. The Monk begins with two ki points and gains one at each level after Level Two. These points can be expended to use one of three useful abilities. At Level Three the Monk must choose a Monastic Tradition, and they gain the ability to deflect incoming ranged missile attacks. At Level Four the Monk may select a Feat or take an Ability Score Improvement. They also gain the Slow Fall ability, which allows them to reduce falling damage.

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