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Monk 5E In D&D [Class Features, Subclasses, And Strategies]

Monk 5E
  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 10/19/2023
Est. Reading: 12 minutes

Alright, let’s get down to business. If you’re a Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast, you’ve likely heard about the Monk 5E and how it adds a fresh twist to your gameplay experience.

This intriguing class, as daring as it is serene, offers a unique set of skills that are bound to enhance not only your player’s abilities but also alter the way you navigate your way through the fantastical world of D&D.

The Monk 5E isn’t just another character built for melee combat – oh no! This class combines traditional martial arts with otherworldly powers manifesting from their unique spiritual energy – otherwise known as ‘Ki.’

Get ready to break down walls, dodge deadly attacks, or even end conflicts without causing harm. The Monk 5E truly proffers an aspect of inner peace and tranquility in an otherwise turbulent world of magic and monsters. So why not add this flavor to your fantasy gaming soup?

Monk 5E Features

Class FeaturesAbilities
Hit Dice1d8 per monk level
1st Level HP8 + your Constitution modifier
Higher Levels HP1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per monk level after 1st.
WeaponsSimple weapons, shortswords
ToolsChoose one type of artisan tool or one musical instrument.
Saving ThrowsStrength, Dexterity
SkillsChoose two from Acrobatics, Athletics, History, Insight, Religion, and Stealth.

The Monk Table

LevelProficiency BonusMartial ArtsKi PointsUnarmored MovementFeatures
1st+21d4Unarmored Defense, Martial Arts
2nd+21d42+10 ft.Ki, Unarmored Movement
3rd+21d43+10 ft.Monastic Tradition, Deflect Missiles
4th+21d44+10 ft.Ability Score Improvement, Slow Fall
5th+31d65+10 ft.Extra Attack, Stunning Strike
6th+31d66+15 ft.Ki-Empowered Strikes, Monastic Tradition Feature
7th+31d67+15 ft.Evasion, Stillness of Mind
8th+31d68+15 ft.Ability Score Improvement
9th+41d69+15 ft.Unarmored Movement Improvement
10th+41d610+20 ft.Purity of Body
11th+41d811+20 ft.Monastic Tradition Feature
12th+41d812+20 ft.Ability Score Improvement
13th+51d813+20 ft.Tongue of the Sun and Moon
14th+51d814+25 ft.Diamond Soul
15th+51d815+25 ft.Timeless Body
16th+51d816+25 ft.Ability Score Improvement
17th+61d1017+25 ft.Monastic Tradition Feature
18th+61d1018+30 ft.Empty Body
19th+61d1019+30 ft.Ability Score Improvement
20th+61d1020+30 ft.Perfect Self

What are the Abilities of Monk 5E Class?

Get ready to equip yourself with understanding as we delve into the abilities of the Monk 5E class.

What are the Abilities of Monk 5E Class?

The Monk is a dynamic class offering a myriad of unique abilities that can significantly impact the gaming experience. Let’s start with going over one of these intriguing abilities – Hit Dice.

Hit Dice

As a player, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the importance of hit points in Dungeons & Dragons. For those just starting, hit points or HP essentially represent a character’s health or how much damage you can endure before getting knocked out or, worse, meeting your end.

When it comes to Monk 5E, your character’s hit points at first level are 8 + your constitution modifier. With each level you gain after that, roll a d8 (or take 5) and then add your constitution modifier to determine additional hit points.

Why is this important? Certainly, because monks tend not to wear armor, having relatively higher hit points will help them survive prolonged encounters.

When rolling for HP in those leveling-up instances, fate may bless you with maximum roll or give meaning to the term ‘dice curse’ in case things don’t pan out as planned. Please make sure you get these numbers right; they could very well be crucial for standing victorious in formidable battles.

Also Read: Multiclassing 5E Guide 2024 [Enrich Your Gaming Encounters]

Monk 5E Expertise

Monks in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (5E) are martial artists who harness the power of their life force, known as “Ki,” to perform incredible feats.

Monk 5E Expertise

They draw on ancient disciplines and traditions, focusing their energies on executing stunning strikes, move with unparalleled speed, and even resisting certain types of harm. Here’s a detailed breakdown of their capabilities:

  • Armor:
    • Monks do not wear armor, relying on their agility and training for protection.
  • Weapons:
    • Simple weapons.
    • Shortsword.
    • Monk weapons (specific weapons that monks can use efficiently, typically those that can be used in one hand).
  • Tools:
    • One type of artisan’s tool or one musical instrument of their choice.
  • Saving Throws:
    • Strength and Dexterity.
  • Skills:
    • Choose two from Acrobatics, Athletics, History, Insight, Religion, and Stealth.
  • Unarmored Defense:
    • When not wearing armor or a shield, a monk’s Armor Class (AC) equals 10 + their Dexterity modifier + their Wisdom modifier.
  • Martial Arts:
    • You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for attack and damage rolls with unarmed strikes and monk weapons.
    • Unarmed strikes deal more damage than usual for monks, increasing as they gain levels.
    • You can make an unarmed strike as a bonus action after attacking with a monk weapon or unarmed strike.
  • Ki:
    • Monks have a pool of Ki points they can spend to fuel various features. The pool grows as they gain levels.
    • Ki points are replenished after a short or long rest.
  • A flurry of Blows:
    • After making an attack action, a monk can spend 1 Ki point to make two unarmed strikes as a bonus action.
  • Patient Defense:
    • Spend 1 Ki point to take the Dodge action as a bonus action on their turn.
  • Step of the Wind:
    • Spend 1 Ki point to take the Disengage or Dash action as a bonus action and double the jump distance for the turn.
  • Unarmored Movement:
    • Gain increased movement speed when not wearing armor or wielding a shield. This increase grows with monk levels.
    • At higher levels, gain the ability to move along vertical surfaces and liquids without falling.
  • Deflect Missiles:
    • It can use a reaction to reduce damage from ranged weapon attacks, potentially deflecting it entirely. You can even throw the missile back if reduced to 0 damage.
  • Slow Fall:
    • Use a reaction when falling to reduce falling damage, using their monk level to determine reduction.
  • Extra Attack:
    • They can attack twice, instead of once, when taking the Attack action on their turn.
  • Stunning Strike:
    • When hitting with a melee weapon attack, you can spend 1 Ki point to attempt to stun the target.
  • Ki-Empowered Strikes:
    • Unarmed strikes count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to non-magical attacks and damage.
  • Evasion:
    • When subjected to certain area effects that require a Dexterity saving throw, it can take no damage on a successful save and only half damage on a failed save.
  • Stillness of Mind:
    • They can use an action to end one effect on themselves that is causing them to be charmed or frightened.
  • Purity of Body:
    • Gain immunity to disease and poison.
  • Tongue of the Sun and Moon:
    • Understand all spoken languages, and any creature that can understand a language can understand the monk.
  • Diamond Soul:
    • Gain proficiency in all saving throws and can spend 1 Ki point to reroll a failed save.
  • Timeless Body:
    • Do not suffer from the frailty of old age, and cannot be aged magically. Also, they no longer need food or water.
  • Empty Body:
    • Spend 4 Ki points to become invisible for 1 minute. During this time, also have resistance to all damage except force damage.
    • Additionally, you can spend 8 Ki points to cast the astral projection spell without needing material components.
  • Perfect Self:
    • When rolling for initiative and having no Ki points left, regain 4 Ki points.

Monks are versatile warriors, blending physical prowess with mystical energy, making them formidable opponents and valuable allies in any adventure.

Also Read: Lightning Bolt 5E [Damage, Range, And Other Crucial Details]

Monk 5E Class Stats

Monk 5E Class Stats

Whether you’re a seasoned Dungeons & Dragons player or a newbie just getting into the game, understanding the Monk 5E’s stats – Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma – is key to leveraging your character’s full potential.

These six core abilities define your character’s skills and how they interact with the world throughout gameplay. So, let’s break down each of these stats:

  • Strength: This measures your physical power. As a Monk, this stat isn’t as crucial because most of their attacks depend on Dexterity.
  • Dexterity: This is vital for Monks. It affects not only your attack and damage rates with unarmed strikes and Monk weapons but also determines your Armor Class (AC), Initiative rolls, and Dexterity saving throws.
  • Constitution: Another important stat to pay attention to is that this determines your overall health and hit points, which dictate how much punishment you can take before going down.
  • Intelligence: This falls low on the priority list, as Monks typically don’t rely heavily on magic or scholarly knowledge.
  • Wisdom: This is crucial for Monks! It helps determine Armor Class (AC) when unarmored, which new Monks typically are. Plus, it plays into the Ki Save DC for several abilities that rely on opponents failing a saving throw against your Ki-powered techniques.
  • Charisma: This is not particularly important for Monks, but it could be useful if you want to be more persuasive in role-play situations.

Depending on how you want to play your Monk or which subclass best aligns with your gameplay style, it could change up priorities somewhat.

For instance, picking Way of Shadow might lean towards an increased emphasis on Charisma if you’re doing more intrigue-based role-playing within stealthy situations while remaining combat-ready.

It’s how you interpret and mold these stats that creates a truly unique Monk character, one that echoes your personal strategy and play style.

Also Read: Greater Restoration 5E [Effects, Benefits, And Role In D&D]

Monastic 5E Traditions (Subclasses)

When building your character in Dungeons and Dragons, choosing a subclass can add an extra layer of complexity and strategy.

This is particularly true when exploring the mystical world of the Monk class, which offers unique subclasses like the Open Hand tradition that allows you to channel your focus on martial techniques.

Open Hand (Low Ki)

Entwined in the realm of martial arts, the Way of the Open Hand represents more than just physical prowess. It’s about understanding balance, finesse, and knowing how to channel one’s Ki toward achieving ultimate peace and power.

If you’re a player who enjoys strategic melee combat with a side order of tranquility, then this subclass might have your name on it.

Open Hand Technique:

When choosing this technique, you enhance your Flurry of Blows ability. After successfully attacking with it, you get the opportunity to knock a creature prone, push it away from you up to 15 feet back, or prevent it from taking reactions until your next turn ends.

Wholeness of Body:

As part of harnessing inner peace and ‘ki,’ Wholeness of Body allows you to heal yourself. It’s simple but incredibly effective; take a moment’s rest during short or long breaks and recover hit points equal to three times your monk level.


Are you all about peace strategies? Tranquility grants an aura that makes violent actions against you impossible unless provoked. Think about it as being surrounded by an invisible shield against aggression – pretty useful when navigating conflict-filled terrains.

Quivering Palm:

While this sounds like something out of an old kung fu movie, it’s far from it. Spending 3 ki points after hitting a creature within melee range by using an unarmed strike makes them susceptible to violent vibrations, which last indefinitely until they end or you use the technique again; you can then decide whether to end them, dealing massive damage or reducing the creature’s hit points to 0.

Shadow (Potentially High Ki)

The Way of the Shadow, a Monk 5E subclass, is for those who seek to blend traditional martial prowess with mystical deception.

This tradition represents the perfect fusion between a classic rogue figure and a mystical monk.

By harnessing your Ki and bending it directly into stealth, you become a nearly invisible figure in the shroud of darkness and trickery.

Shadow Arts:

This feature enables you to use 2 ki points to cast several spells like silence, pass without trace or darkness. It also allows the use of minor illusions without expending any ki points.

Without a doubt, these can be some critical tools for sneaking and setting up ambushes.

Shadow Step:

Imagine if you could teleport between shadows! With Shadow step, exactly that becomes possible.

When in dim light or darkness, you can teleport up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space that’s also in dim light or darkness.

It’s like your smoke-and-mirrors trick that even grants an advantage over the next melee attack.

Cloak of Shadows:

Now, here’s something cool: You become invisible when in an area of dim light or darkness. This is the Cloak of Shadows, granting you a nifty escape tool that turns you invisible until you make an attack, cast a spell, or step into bright light.


This savvy feature gives you the opportunity to strike when your enemies let their guard down.

If another creature within 5 feet of you is hit by an attack from a creature other than you, you can use your reaction to make a melee attack against the initial creature.

After all, timing and seizing opportunities are what this subclass is all about.

Four Elements (Very High Ki)

If you’ve ever dreamed of combining the raw power of elemental forces with a character’s deep spiritual energy, then the Four Elements subclass is one worth considering.

The Monk 5E tradition known as the ‘Way of the Four Elements’ melds martial arts prowess with an intimate understanding and manipulation of elemental aspects.

  • Breath of the Winter: For rulers of frost and snow, this technique allows you to breathe out a blast of cold air, damaging enemies caught in its chilling grasp.
  • Clench of the North Wind: Channeling winter’s merciless hold, this power lets you freeze an opponent in their tracks using your ki.
  • Elemental Attunement: Master the elements with finesse! This technique gives you mastery over basic elements for cosmetic or minor physical effects.
  • Eternal Mountain Defense: Fortify your defense by toughening your skin like bedrock. It offers resistance against blows that would otherwise shake you.
  • Fangs of the Fire Snake: Your arms become flaming tendrils with extended reach, granting extra fire damage to your opponents on landing hits.
  • Fist of Four Thunders: Unleash thunder wave-like shockwaves from your fists, blasting back any nearby adversaries with raw force.
  • Fist of Unbroken Air: The wind is at your command – use it to create a powerful gust that throws opponents backward and causes significant damage.
  • Flames of the Phoenix: Burst into the fire, imitating a phoenix’s flames and igniting everyone around you – great for crowd control.
  • Gong of the Summit: Use this ability to produce a thunderous soundwave that damages and deafens foes around you.
  • Mist Stance: Summon mist to envelop your form and gain invisibility on command – perfect for stealth missions or sudden retreats.
  • Ride the Wind: Dreams of flight become a reality – enable your character to ride the airy currents for a short period.
  • River of Hungry Flame: Send a wave of sizzling flame towards your foes – damage and disrupt their ranks.
  • Rush of the Gale Spirits: Unleash a gust of wind that pushes and damages enemies in its path.
  • Shape the Flowing River: In synergy with water bodies, you reshape ice or water to create paths, barriers, or traps.
  • Sweeping Cinder Strike: Sweep your enemy off their feet with an intense wave of flame.
  • Water Whip: Use water in ways no sword could ever mimic; wrap, whip, trip, or pull enemies using controlled torrents.
  • Wave of Rolling Earth: A seismic wave is at your fingertips, creating cover or bridges seemingly out of nowhere.

Tradition harnesses primal forces for versatile combat skills. Any encounter becomes a canvas on which you paint with elemental might and monk finesse.

Engage this path with caution, though—the Ki costs are high, but the spectacular effects are worth every bit.

Sun Soul (Low-Med Ki)

Born from the conviction that harmony could be reached through the energy of light and fire, the Way of the Sun Soul monks are a radiant example of power.

With remarkable abilities to generate and manipulate rays of sunlight, these monks set themselves apart, threatening their enemies with glaring bursts of spiritual sunlight.

Radiant Sun Bolt:

You’re not confined to short-range attacks with this feature by your side. Radiant Sun Bolt allows you to fling radiant energy bolts at your enemies from a distance. It’s like having a long-ranged fiery punch at your disposal.

Searing Arc Strike:

After executing a flurry of blows, the Searing Arc Strike allows you to amplify your impact by launching a fiery arc toward your enemy.

It’s an integration of martial and mystical powers that wreaks havoc on your opponents in an impressive display of raw power.

Searing Sunburst:

The Searing Sunburst elevates your attacking prowess shades higher–imagine summoning a miniature sun and hurling it toward your foes, causing radiant damage.

It’s an incredible offensive ability that underpins the potential devastation the sun’s energy can unleash.

Sun Shield:

Did someone say protective aura? The Sun Shield wraps around you like an invincible blanket made from sun rays.

It not only increases protection but also emits bright light extending to several feet – deterring hidden strikes effectively while dazzling opponents with its brilliance.

Also Read: Moonbeam 5E In D&D [Effects, Utilization, & Added Advantage]

FAQs about Monk 5E

What exactly is Ki in the Monk 5E class?

Ki is a form of spiritual energy that Monks utilize in D&D. It manifests as unique abilities and enhancements derived from the Monk’s inner strength and balance.

Can a Monk utilize weapons in D&D 5E?

Yes, while Monks are most renowned for their unarmed combat skills, they also have proficiency with simple weapons and some specific martial weapons.

How does the Open Hand Technique improve my gameplay?

The Open Hand Technique boosts your Flurry of Blows ability, providing options to knock creatures prone, push them back, or prevent counters during your attacks.

How does the Sun Soul subclass differ from the Open Hand tradition?

While Open Hand focuses on enhancing physical combat and fostering peace, Sun Soul allows you to manipulate light and fire energy, offering long-range radiant attack options.

Is there any healing ability in the Monk 5E class?

Absolutely! The “Wholeness of Body” feature aids Monk class healing. This allows you to recover hit points equivalent to three times your monk level during rest periods.


  • Ashish Arya

    I'm a tech enthusiast and lifelong gamer, hailing from the beautiful city of Chandigarh. My passions range from immersing myself in worlds like GTA V, COD, SIMS, Roblox and Minecraft to exploring the latest innovations in laptops and technology. Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Application, I love sharing my insights through writing and engaging with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on my journey through the ever-evolving realms of gaming and tech!