Have an affinity for old cheesy kung fu movies? Love to play fast-moving physical characters in your D&D games? Then playing a monk may be for you! In this How to Build, I’ll be going over a few key features of the monk class as well as some race choices that could make great monks!
Martial Arts & Ki Points
Monks have two class features that truly help it stand out against all others. Those two are Martial Arts and the monk’s access to Ki. Martial Arts allows the monk to base their attacks on their dexterity scores rather than the usual strength. This also ties to the monk’s greatest weapons, their fists! An unarmed attack from a monk deals 1d4+dex modifier damage. The d4 changes every as you level up to the next largest dice size capping off at a deadly d10.
Ki is a mystical kung fu “magic” that monks can access to perform different special attacks like being able to attack an extra time in their turn or being able to disengage or dodge as a bonus action. Monks are given a pool of ki points that is used up as they perform one of these special technics. The pool grows as the monk grows in their skill.
The two abilities to focus on when creating a powerful monk are firstly dexterity and next, wisdom. Dexterity for buffing your armor class as well as using it for your attack and damage rolls. Wisdom is factored into your ki’s save DC so that’s important. The following races are choices that benefit these abilities as well as can be fun choices.
A goblin as a monk can make a fun kooky character that really throws the perception of goblins on its head each time the party goes into a populated area. Goblins have a +2 for Dex and 1 for Constitution, making them a viable option for monks.
The wingless crow people, the kenku can really add a mysterious element to your monk. Like goblins, kenkus have a +2 bonus towards Dex and a +1 for Wisdom. These are obviously great choices for a monk but one cool piece of roleplay is that kenkus cannot speak but only recreate sounds they heard.
The tabaxi race is a leopard-like people with cat-like dexterity that is fitting for a monk. Also sporting a +2 to Dexterity and a +1 to charisma, a tabaxi monk can be a difficult opponent as well as a neat character choice (think M’aiq the Liar from Elder Scrolls).
Other viable choices are:
Aarakocra (the best race)
Kobolds (imagine a monk who is constantly terrified of everything!)
As always, there are no right choices for D&D characters, the biggest detail is that you are having fun.
*Dungeons and Dragons and their content is the property of Wizards of the Coast. Norse Foundry makes no claim to ownership to any of the things discussed in this article, this article is a helpful opinion guide on to how to play the game.