Exceptional Monkey (5e Race)

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Exceptional Monkey[edit]

Beyond Beasts[edit]

Monkeys are relatively small and furry creatures that live in jungles and forests. While they are more humanoid in nature and appearance than most creatures, common monkeys are still beasts, albeit only barely. Occasionally a particularly remarkable monkey will rise above its fellow beasts and become intelligent. Whether by accidental exposure to magic, becoming the unwitting subject of arcane experimentation, or just being an exceptionally ambitious animal, your character is a common monkey that has developed a greater intelligence and chosen to leave their territory for adventure in the outside world.
Exceptional Monkeys are a race designed to promote more unusual and dynamic movement than more conventional races. If you are interested in playing as an exceptional monkey character, it is strongly recommended you think about your movement as a resource, even more than you otherwise would. The options available to an exceptional monkey are designed to be rich and encourage creative thinking, but still be intuitive enough that your table shouldn't be waiting too long for you to decide how you want to use your movement, particularly if you've been thinking about what you want to do while you wait for your turn.

Physical Description[edit]

The appearance of a monkey will depend on its species. All monkeys are characterized by diminutive size, dense fur, and a long, prehensile tail. Monkeys look unusually human-like relative to other animals, but not enough that most people would see them as true humanoids. Monkeys have hands with thumbs on both their arms and legs, and they can additionally grip objects and terrain features with their tails, making them incredibly dextrous. Exceptional monkeys maintain the appearance of their less intelligent wild counterparts, and more often than not they even tend to move about in the same nimble, wild manner. They can generally only be picked out from normal monkeys of their species by their tendency to carry equipment slung over their backs, or failing that, by observing their finer behaviour.


Every exceptional monkey’s story is unique. They are less a distinct genetic race and more an inevitable phenomena when a creature teeters on the edge between beast and humanity in the way that monkeys do. Some exceptional monkeys are made from common beasts through magic, others spend their early years in the jungle crossing the threshold from animal to person on their own accord, and still others may be raised or trained by an intelligent race such that they too develop true sapience.


Exceptional monkeys are rare, and most go their whole lives never meeting another monkey who understands the depths of their ambitions and thoughts. Even the most capable monkey generally can’t manage to get their peers to understand their perspectives. As a result, exceptional monkeys usually either spend their lives among other races or dedicate their lives to leading their unintelligent families for survival and dominance in the wilderness. Those that spend their time among other races tend to find them fascinating or even endearing. Most exceptional monkeys spent a significant portion of their lives living only among beasts, unaware that there are any other beings in the world who could understand them; as a result, even after years among other intelligent people an exceptional monkey will usually feel grateful and humbled to be in such company.

Exceptional Monkey Names[edit]

In the wild, monkeys are named by their families with distinctive chatters, hoots, or other sounds. Exceptional monkeys that grew up among other monkeys tend to keep those names. Because other races tend to have difficulty pronouncing these sounds, though, an exceptional monkey that spends time with other races will generally either accept a new name or go by some approximation of their true name.

New Names: An exceptional monkey that takes a new name will usually follow the naming practices of whatever society they first encounter, typically a society that lives within or close to their native jungle or forest.

Approximations: Approximation names generally take the form of simplified, imprecise impressions of whatever their true name sounds like - for example, “Chitter”, “Ooieh”, or “Keekiki”. The names that wild monkeys give each other are assigned irrespective of gender, and so approximation names are similarly neutral.

Exceptional Monkey Traits[edit]

Enlightened monkeys who use their tree-climbing nature and prehensile tails to excel as adventurers.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and your Strength score increases by 1.
Age. Ordinary monkeys in good conditions can live into their late 20s, or even their 30s. If you have been magically enhanced, your lifespan may be more similar to that of a human instead. Regardless of magical enhancements, most species of monkeys become mature at around 4-5 years old.
Alignment. As former beasts, exceptional monkeys tend towards neutrality.
Size. At full height, you are somewhere around two and a half feet tall, making you Small. Most of the time, though, you do not stand up straight, making you appear quite a bit smaller.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet when standing upright, and you have a climbing speed of 25 feet. Your walking speed and climbing speed can increase as per the Four Feet trait and the Tail trait, respectively, but these are your default speeds.
Slim Build. You count as one size smaller when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Arboreal Leap. During your movement, you can leap off of objects or creatures for extra mobility. At any point in your movement when you are adjacent to a suitable object, you may kick off of it to travel up to 15 feet away at the cost of 10 feet of movement. You cross this distance without touching the ground, and passing through controlled space in this way does not provoke an opportunity attack. You may chain Arboreal Leaps until you run out of movement. When you chain one Arboreal Leap directly into another, you are refunded 5 movement and you do not have to touch the ground in between leaps.
Suitable objects for leaping off of include walls, furniture, and creatures of size medium or larger (willing or unwilling). A small-sized creature that is willing may use their reaction to allow you to leap off of them. When you’re leaping from a wall, it is up to your DM’s discretion whether the angle you intend to leap away at is reasonable or not, based on the angle of the wall and other factors.
Four Hands. Your feet are hands. They can be used for the same purposes as the hands on your upper arms, including fulfilling Somatic components of spells. Using your lower hands in this way reduces your speed to 0 for the remainder of your turn, and you cannot do it if you have already used any movement.
Four Feet. Your hands are feet. At any time you may be in one of two stances, quadrupedal or bipedal, which you may switch between using your movement.
When you start your turn in quadrupedal stance, your base speed increases by 5 for that turn. You may also drop from bipedal to quadrupedal stance at any point during your turn, which will grant you 5 additional feet of movement. You can also stand upright into bipedal stance, at the cost of 10 feet of movement. You are unable to obtain any extra movement in this way when your speed is reduced to 0.
When in quadrupedal stance, you ignore difficult terrain and you cannot be knocked prone against your will. However, you cannot use your hands (i.e. for making weapon attacks) until you stand upright again. When you land after leaving the ground from climbing, jumping, or any other means, or you get up from being prone, you may choose which stance to end up in for free. If you choose to go to quadrupedal stance and this is occurring during your turn, you receive the +5 movement bonus as if you had changed stance normally. If you enter quadrupedal stance in this way outside your turn, you simply start your next turn with the +5 speed bonus.
Four Feet (traveling). You may choose to travel over long distances in a quadrupedal stance. When traveling in this way, your base speed becomes 30 and you ignore difficult terrain.
Tail. Your tail is extremely flexible, allowing it to be used for many of the same things as an arm. However, it is also useful when unencumbered for climbing and balancing. You may use your tail in one of three ways at any time, and it will be considered encumbered:

  1. You may use an object with your tail. This can include throwing a lever, using a tool, or activating a magic item. You cannot use an item held in your tail to make an attack, and using a tool to make an ability check with your tail imposes disadvantage on the roll. For the purposes of activating a magic item, your tail is considered to be a hand.
  2. You may wear a shield on your tail. The AC bonus provided by the shield is reduced by 1, however it is otherwise fully functional as a shield.
  3. You may use your tail to fulfill Somatic components of spells.

When you are not using your tail in any of these ways, it instead acts as a natural counterweight to bolster your athletic capabilities. When your tail is free, you receive a climbing speed of 35 feet, and you may double your proficiency bonus on Athletics and Acrobatics checks.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common. You can also communicate clearly with other monkeys of your species, but they tend to be easily confused by your goals and ambitions.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

2′ 1″ +2d6 38 lb. × 1 lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

(one vote)

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