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Way of The Long Death Monk Subclass [Mastery Over Life And Death]

way of the Long Death Monk Subclass Guide
  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 01/03/2024
Est. Reading: 12 minutes

If you crave a walk on the wild side, unleashing your inner darkness and dabbling in the mysterious and macabre ways of monastic life, then the Way of the Long death monk is just the ticket.

This monk subclass, found in the pages of Dungeons & Dragons literature, offers a unique blend of eerie skills and abilities drawn directly from their studies on mortality and what lies beyond.

Navigating this strange, shadowy path need not be perplexing. In this guide, we’ll demystify this eccentric subclass, breaking down everything you need to know to master your journey through the depths.

We’ll delve into their captivating lore, various skills, abilities, and strategies to take your game to a whole new level. So prepare yourself as we traverse through this unexplored and often misunderstood realm together.

What is the way of the long death monk?

The Way of the Long Death Monk is a subclass that dances with morbidity and plays with the very curtain that separates life and death.

They study the nature of mortality, learning to harness its mysterious power to posture themselves as a terrifying presence on the battlefield. So, what makes these monks formidable opponents?

In combat, such practitioners reinvent the notion of ‘death-defying,’ gaining abilities that deal necrotic damage, take control over their health points, and even resist death itself.

To them, the battlefield is a symphony where each enemy’s fall adds to their strength.

This understanding mixed with fierce combat skills results in an utterly creepy yet incredibly fascinating character archetype.

For those who don’t shy away from mysticism and aren’t afraid to confront mortality head-on can step into the shoes of a Way of the Long Death monk.

All about Way of the Long Death Monk

Now that we’ve brushed upon the spine-tingling basic concept behind these deadly practitioners, let’s dig deeper.

All about Way of the Long Death Monk

During your journey as a Way of the Long Death Monk, you’ll be weaving an intense and complex relationship with death itself.

Subclass Details

Unveiling the intricate facets of this subclass requires a keen understanding of its details and specifications.

It’s crucial to get familiar with these components since they shape your monk’s overall gameplay.

  • Subclass Name: Way of the Long Death
  • Class: Monk
  • Hit Dice: 1d8

Your monastic tradition selections as a “Long Death” Monk will allow you to confront your enemies with a unique prowess, where each hit you land resonates with echoes of mortality.

Given such uncanny power, you can start to comprehend why this subclass walks on thin ice bordering an ethical gray area.


Just as a carpenter has his tools or a blacksmith her forge, your proficiency as a Way of the Long Death monk finds expression through your control over certain weapons and skills.

These elements aren’t just arbitrary; they symbolize the lifestyle you’ve chosen and the techniques you’ve honed.

The pathway of the Long Death has honed your skills and sharpened your reflexes so that you excel in confronting and controlling both external forces and internal pressures.

  • Weapons: With this subclass, you rely on the simplicity of martial prowess. You are adept in using simple weapons alongside shortswords—tools that personify elegance through minimalism.
  • Tools: True to their monastic ways, these monks need no traditional tools for their nefarious arts. Their bodies and minds are instruments enough.
  • Saving Throws: Your training hones not just your physical strength but also your mental resilience. Thus, strength and dexterity are part of your fortitude.
  • Skills: As a monk of the Long Death monastic tradition, you can choose two skills from Acrobatics, Athletics, History, Insight, Religion, and Stealth to specialize in—each one paves the way for understanding death’s mysteries even better. Choose wisely.

Also Read: 15 Best Feats For Monk 5E [Enhance Your Martial Prowess]

Subclass Features

As a Long Death Monk, you delve into the abyss, courting death. This brave – or dare we say, audacious – glance into mortality rewards you with formidable skills.

Your long years of meditation and study equip you with a unique set of features that embody your frightening potential.

Death’s Kiss

Imagine wielding so much power over death that even your mere touch brings destruction.

At the 3rd level, the Way of the Long Death subclass grants this eerie capability known as Touch of Death.

Your understanding of life and its end grants you the ability to infuse your unarmed strikes with chilling necrotic energy.

Upon landing a successful strike on your opponent, you unleash this extra necrotic damage – a dreaded kiss indeed.

The potency corresponds to how much wisdom you gained from your path (your Monk level).

Each successful encounter with an enemy reinforces your exposure to their mortality—an intimidating yet potent augmentation to your combat repertoire.

Touch of Death

Once you’ve reached the 6th level in this extraordinary journey, another extraordinary skill unfurls – the feared ‘Touch of Death.’

You’ve trained yourself so well in manipulating Ki—your spiritual energy—that it’s now time for it to touch others… quite literally!

By expending Ki points when necessary, you can affect enemies within 5 feet for lethal damage upon a failed Constitution saving throw.

Knead your spiritual essence into deadly projectiles that assail those who stand against you.

This ability doesn’t just mean more damage output—it’s also representative of how spiritually adept and fearsomely disciplined Long Death Monks are.

Hour of Reaping

As you ascend the ladder and reach the 11th level, life takes on a more ominous, yet empowering, quality.

The Hour of Reaping ability kicks in and you can almost feel death bowing to your command.

This potent aspect within the Way of the Long Death allows you to regain hit points in the heat of battle when a creature is reduced to zero hit points—a manifestation not only symbolizing your control over death but also acting as a critical survival tool on the battlefield.

Each opponent’s fall breathes life back into you amplifying your prowess and unnerving your enemies.

Mastery of Death

Mastery of Death appears at 17th level, adding a powerful layer of resilience against necrotic damage—it’s as if death itself recoils at your touch.

But even that doesn’t quite capture the remarkable power this feature bestows.

Perhaps the most awe-inspiring perk is it gives you an uncanny ability to cheat death once per long rest.

Yes, you can bring yourself back from the brink if you die—a testament indeed to having mastered death.

This dreaded power is sure to leave your foes second-guessing their tactics because here stands a foe who may not stay down even when he’s out—A true embodiment of whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Ability Scores of the Way of the Long Death Monk

These ability scores aren’t just numbers on a page; they are the lifeblood of your character’s performance and effectiveness.

Ability Scores of the Way of the Long Death Monk

They define your strengths, call out your weaknesses, and set a trajectory for your journey as a Way of the Long Death monk.

Choose Your Primary Attribute

An all-important decision in constructing your character is choosing between Wisdom and Dexterity. Both these attributes guide different aspects of your abilities.

Dexterity influences how well you can land blows and dodge attacks—both key aspects for survival in armed combat.

Simultaneously, Wisdom holds sway over your Ki abilities—the life force that fuels most of your special abilities.

Balancing offense and defense can be tricky but it provides a diverse approach, making you ready to face diverse challenges that come your way on this path.

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

Party Role Consideration

While choosing attributes and building skills, always consider the role you want to play in combat scenarios.

For example, focusing on combat-oriented traits becomes critical if you choose to be at the forefront of encounters as a Way of the Long Death monk.

Support abilities should not overshadow this but rather supplement it making you an asset for your team.

Multiclassing Impact

While considering multiclassing, remember every class comes with its own preferred Ability Scores which might impact how efficiently you can function in both classes.

For example, if you’re thinking about multiclassing with a Cleric or Druid class which centers around Wisdom more than Dexterity, prioritizing Wisdom over Dexterity might make sense.


Among all stats for monks, including Way of the Long Death monks, none quite take precedence like Dexterity.

From influencing Armor Class (and thus survivability) to bolstering attacking capabilities such as landing strikes more effectively or helping in stealthy evasions — dexterity stands out as crucially significant.

For specific cases where multiclassing as a cleric or druid becomes optimal, there can be exceptions. But for the most part, in the Way of the Long Death, dexterity shines brightly.


Following closely on Dexterity’s heels is Wisdom. As a secondary attribute of importance, it holds significant implications for a monk.

For example, it positively affects your Armor Class (thus defensive capabilities). It also enhances your Stunning Strike ability — a formidable tool in disabling opponents.

Ability Scores of Way of the Long Death Monk

A crucial part of mastering your monk involves finely tuning your ability scores. Think of these like different ingredients that make up the recipe of your character’s prowess and perfection. Your skills in battle, diplomacy, agility – all are influenced by these choices.

Choose Primary Attribute

Primary attribute selection is an exercise in weighing the balance between offense and defense.

You ought to choose between Wisdom and Dexterity, depending on how you wish to play. Both impact your ki abilities and Armor Class.

Let’s say you want to pack a punch – a dexterous monk specializes in quick, agile offense.

Meanwhile, a wise monk has better defensive capabilities – they can read situations better and react swiftly in sticky circumstances.

Party Role Consideration

Particularly as a Long Death Monk, your main role revolves around frontline combat. But that doesn’t mean you neglect the subtleties.

The support abilities you choose should complement your fighting style rather than distracting from it.

Consider this: maybe stealth aids you to strike unnoticed or perhaps religion offers insight into opponents’ weaknesses?


Constitution carries equal importance to Wisdom – kind of like bread does to butter in making an appetizing sandwich.

It provides some much-needed extra hit points for melee combat – a perk anyone would appreciate considering monks often find themselves at the heart of action-packed encounters!


In Dungeons & Dragons world, power isn’t just about muscle; it’s also about brains. Monks value education given their disciplined nature.

Your intelligence score is reflective of this sentiment by offering versatility when it comes to skills or proficiencies like mastery over certain tools.


When fear is your primary weapon, charisma matters! The Way of the Long Death isn’t just about physical battles; it’s psychological warfare too.

Charisma helps here by amplifying intimidation techniques used for diplomatic encounters or scaring foes into foolish mistakes. Remember, a well-played mind game can save countless swords swings.


Here’s a little secret: strength holds limited mechanical significance for monks compared to other classes. It’s just not as crucial for monk mechanics; dexterity takes care of combat skills aptly.

So, when allocating ability scores in your monk’s growth, strength needn’t be given top priority.


Having skimmed through races and skills, let’s turn our attention to another profound layer of your Long Death monk persona – your background.

This element plays a crucial role, revealing the events that directed you towards treading this diverse path, and imposes tangible effects on your character’s abilities.

House Agent

Channel your inner spy with the House Agent background. Your early years spent in the employ of a dragonmarked house creates a breed of monks skilled in espionage but driven by the pursuit of understanding death.

The great houses rest their faith in you. You’ve executed high-risk missions, uncovered secrets, navigated politics—and perhaps glimpsed death closer than most others, kindling your path down the Way of the Long Death.


If faith is your character’s fuel for fighting mortality’s enigma head-on, then an Acolyte background might resonate with them well.

Maybe they were raised in a necromantic cult or within a mysterious religious sect that worshiped death gods?

This past has nourished their fascination with mortality, leading to their insistence on unearthing death’s intricacies—a quest best explored via The Way of the Long Death monastic tradition.


The road to mastering death demands a varied set of talents.


From physical prowess that challenges gravity, to an understanding of theology that transcends existence, your skills are your most reliable guide on this journey.

You aren’t merely a warrior, but an acrobat, a historian, and a silent lurker in the corridors of death as well.


Every leap and tumble you execute on the battlefield is an ode to your mastery over Athletic Skill.

And as a Way of the Long Death Monk, your athletic prowess couples with your martial discipline to create deadly combinations.

You don’t just face death; you elegantly dance with it in every twist and somersault.

Also Read: Athlete Feat 5E [Boost Your Physical Prowess In DnD]


You are like the xiphosaurus who decrypts life’s unsolvable riddles by rummaging through piles of past wisdom and divine theories.

Your knowledge regarding Religion and History broadens your vista, allowing you to establish profound connections between life, death, and everything in between.


Taking insights from the mortal realm is one thing; extracting them from the edge of mortality is another.

Your sojourn into the depths and darkness hones your ability to perceive what’s hidden beneath the surface — be it someone’s intentions or life’s painful truths.


Stealth isn’t just about staying unseen; it’s about merging into oblivion while being watchful over life-thinning threads around you.

Like a specter with discerning eyes, you walk through this mortal realm under a veil of silence – observing, learning…and sometimes startling those who dare disturb death’s domain.


An acrobat emulates fluidity during performance—a feature intrinsic to all Way of Long Death Monks. It allows you not only to dodge death but spar with it without as much as tarnishing its cloak.

A perfect handstand or somersault becomes an artistic performance teetering between the margins of life and death. It’s all just another day of training for you.

Feats For Your Monk

While walking the way of the Long Death Monk offers extraordinary abilities already, it never hurts to boost your prowess further.

Achieving specific feats will add an extra edge to your character, making you an even more formidable presence in the game.

Here, we discuss the Polearm Master and Magic Initiate (Druid) feats.

Polearm Master

Have you ever watched a martial artist swing a staff or halberd with uncanny precision and lethal intent? If not, well, introducing Polearm Master—a feat that lets you personify that image.

This ability transforms you into a whirlwind of steel and death, allowing you to utilize pole-like weapons with deadly efficacy.

It bolsters your range and versatility on the battlefield by offering an opportunity attack when foes enter your reach—not just when they leave it.

The additional bonus action butt-strike gives another vector for damage dealer during intense combats.

Magic Initiate (Druid)

Hey, who says you can’t dip your toes into magic too? Opting for Magic Initiate feat as a druid grants access to primal magics from the druid spell list enhancing your versatility beyond physical combat alone.

Choosing spells like Shillelagh can bolster your melee damage output by applying wisdom modifier instead of strength or dexterity for attacks made with wooden weapons—a perfect match for monastic theme of Way of Long Death monk.

Or Healing Word could provide valuable recovery options mid-fight and make you saver of lives in one instant and taker in other—an interesting contrast to play into character’s mystery.

Multiclassing Your Monk

Tweaking a bit here and adjusting there, multiclassing breathes new life into your character, widening horizons with diverse abilities without discarding the core flavor of your Long Death monk.

Multiclassing Your Monk

So if you’re looking to mix things up and challenge yourself, consider the following classes to create a blend as unique as your gaming aspirations.


If the wilderness beckons or you wish to explore the harmony of martial prowess and nature’s raw strength, multiclassing as a ranger is worth considering.

This combination offers excellent utility in tracking enemies and surviving in harsh environments.

Both classesadvantageous. utilize Wisdom for several class features which can be quite As you’d expect, this synergy magnifies your combat potential whilst extending some interesting nature-related abilities that break away from traditional monastic confines.


Adding a splash of the rogue class to the potent mix of your Long Death monk creates an entirely new dynamic.

You’ll gain sneak attack bonuses and other elusive traits that align well with your existing monkish skills.

The rogue’s cunning action enables quick disengagement or hiding during intense combat moments; paired with long death skills can result in deadly surprise attacks that leave your opponents gasping for breath.

Also Read: 25 Best Druid Magic Items 5E [Arm Yourself With Elemental Power]


Multiclassing as a druid may seem unconventional but can have surprisingly satisfying results.

This combination gives you access to spells that add another layer of mystique and enhances defense and versatile role-playing options due to shape-shifting abilities.

Imagine coupling necrotic force manipulation with natural magic’s vitality—you create an unpredictably eclectic character known both for sowing death and nurturing life.

FAQs About way of the Long Death Monk Subclass

What is the primary role of a Way of the Long Death Monk in a party?

These monks largely serve in combat roles, often striving to take the front line while supporting their allies through their array of abilities.

What kind of ability score should I focus on as a Way of the Long Death Monk?

Dexterity and Wisdom are significant for this subclass, influencing your Ki abilities, armor class, and combat effectiveness.

Can I multiclass my Way of the Long Death Monk character?

Yes, you can multiclass your character, but it’s crucial to consider your stat distribution since it will significantly affect the impact and efficiency of multiclassing.

Which races synergize well with the Way of the Long Death Monk subclass?

Wood Elves, Warforged, Humans, and Goblins all lend beneficial traits and capabilities that can enhance your experience as a Way of the Long Death Monk.

What are some key feats for my Long Death Monk character?

Polearm Master and Magic Initiate (Druid) are valuable feats worth considering for this subclass. They allow for added versatility in combat scenarios.


  • 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!