Monk, Variant (5e Class)

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Scales.png This page is of questionable balance. Reason: the delays on class features in this class make the monk almost unplayable at later levels. Without the 6th level ki empowered strikes, this effectively will reduce all damage from the monk to half, forcing it to use magic weapons and striping him from its core feature, the martial arts. Stunning strike at 10th level make monk repetitive, striping him from versatile uses for ki. And, why remove diamond soul?

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The Monk, Revised[edit]

This class rework is meant to rebalance the classic Monk. The Monk is often considered to be one of the most powerful classes, and they often overstep their bounds. This rework attempts to make sure the Monk still synergizes with its core concepts while not stepping on the toes of other classes.

Quick Build

You can make a monk quickly by following these suggestions. First, Wisdom should be your highest ability score, followed by Dexterity or Constitution. Second, choose the Hermit background. Third, choose the shortsword and the explorer's pack.

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 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Monk level after 1st


Armor: None
Weapons: Simple Weapons, shortswords
Tools: Choose one set of artisan's tools or musical instrument
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Athletics, History, Insight, Perception, Religion, Stealth, or Survival


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

Table: The Monk

Level Proficiency
1st +2 Martial Arts, Unarmored Defense
2nd +2 Ki, Unarmored Movement
3rd +2 Monastic Tradition
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement
5th +3 Extra Attack
6th +3 Monastic Tradition Feature
7th +3 Evasion
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement
9th +4 Slow Fall
10th +4 Stunning Strike
11th +4 Monastic Tradition Feature
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement
13th +5 Quickened Ki
14th +5 Stillness of Mind
15th +5 Ki-Empowered Strikes
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement
17th +6 Monastic Tradition Feature
18th +6 Pure Body
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 Perfect Soul

Martial Arts[edit]

Your practice of martial arts gives you mastery of combat styles that use unarmed strikes and monk weapons, which are shortswords and any simple melee weapons that don't have the two-handed or heavy property.

You gain the following benefits while you are unarmed or wielding only monk weapons and you aren't wearing armor or wielding a shield.

  • You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of your unarmed strikes and monk weapons.
  • You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike or monk weapon. This die changes as you gain monk levels, increasing to 1d6 at 5th level, 1d8 at 11th level, and 1d10 at 17th level.
  • When you use the Attack action with an unarmed strike or a monk weapon on your turn, you can make one unarmed strike as a bonus action. For example, if you take the Attack action and attack with a quarterstaff, you can also make an unarmed strike as a bonus action, assuming you haven't already taken a bonus action this turn.

Certain monasteries use specialized forms of the monk weapons. For example, you might use a club that is two lengths of wood connected by a short chain (called a nunchaku) or a sickle with a shorter, straighter blade (called a kama).

Unarmored Defense[edit]

Beginning at 1st level, while you are wearing no armor and not wielding a shield, your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier.


Starting at 2nd level, your training allows you to harness the mystic energy of ki. Your access to this energy is represented by a number of ki points equal to your Monk level + your Wisdom modifier (minimum of +0).

You can spend these points to fuel various ki features. You start knowing three such features: Deflect Missiles, Flurry of Blows, Patient Defense, and Step of the Wind. You learn more ki features as you gain levels in this class.

When you spend a ki point, it is unavailable until you finish a long rest, at the end of which you draw all of your expended ki back into yourself. You must spend at least 30 minutes of the rest meditating to regain your ki points.

Some of your ki features require your target to make a saving throw to resist the feature's effects. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:

Ki save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier

Deflect Missiles

As a reaction when you are hit by a ranged weapon attack roll, you can spend 1 ki point to deflect the missile. When you do so, the damage you take from the attack is reduced by 1d10 + your Dexterity modifier + your monk level. If you reduce the damage to 0, you can catch the missile if it is small enough for you to hold in one hand and you have at least one hand free. You can take the Attack action on your turn to throw the missile, which is considered to have a range of 20/60 feet unless otherwise stated.

Flurry of Blows

Immediately after you take the Attack action on your turn, you can spend 1 ki point to make two unarmed strikes as a bonus action.

Patient Defense

You can spend 1 ki point to take the Dodge action as a bonus action on your turn.

Step of the Wind

You can spend 1 ki point to take the Disengage or Dash action as a bonus action on your turn, and your jump distance is doubled for the turn.

Unarmored Movement[edit]

Starting at 2nd level, your speed increases by 5 feet while you are not wearing armor or wielding a shield. This bonus increases when you reach certain monk levels, increasing to 10 feet at 9th level and 15 feet at 17th level.

Monastic Tradition[edit]

When you reach 3rd level, you commit yourself to a monastic tradition, such as the Way of the Open Hand. Your tradition grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 11th, and 17th level.

Monastic Tradition features

Ability Score Increase[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack[edit]

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.


At 7th level, your instinctive agility lets you dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a blue dragon's lightning breath or a fireball spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Slow Fall[edit]

Beginning at 9th level, you can use your reaction when you fall to reduce any falling damage you take by an amount equal to five times the sum of your Dexterity modifier and your Wisdom modifier (to a minimum of 0 damage).

Stunning Strike[edit]

Starting at 10th level, you can interfere with the flow of ki in an opponent's body. When you hit another creature with a melee weapon attack, you can spend 1 ki point to attempt a stunning strike. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or be stunned until the end of your next turn.

Quickened Ki[edit]

Starting at 13th level, you regain any expended ki upon completing a short or a long rest.

Stillness of Mind[edit]

Starting at 14th level, you can use your action to end one effect on yourself that is causing you to be charmed or frightened.

Ki-Empowered Strikes[edit]

Starting at 15th level, your unarmed strikes count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage. Additionally, whenever you expend ki to make an attack roll or to enhance an Attack action, you can choose for the damage type to be force.

Pure Body[edit]

At 18th level, your mastery of the ki flowing through you makes you immune to disease and poison. Additionally, you cannot be magically aged and you no longer need to eat or drink to sustain yourself.

Perfect Soul[edit]

At 20th level, when you roll for initiative and have no ki points remaining, you regain 4 ki points (up to your maximum).

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