There are many problems with the Monk class in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, and Revised Monk by DarkAbyssKeeper seeks to remedy some of those issues. In an effort to put monks on par with other martial classes, this five-page PDF reengineers one of the monk’s core features and modifies several others.
5E Monks are Broken
Perhaps you had a vision for your martial artist character. Perhaps that vision included rapid unarmed strikes, death-defying acrobatics, and a perfect synergy of body and spirit. Well, if you made a monk, you were likely dismayed and underwhelmed.
Pretty much anything a monk can do and should excel at, another class can do it better. Whereas a bard is competent in many skills and provides great utility, the monk consistently underperforms in every aspect. Here is a short list of just some of the problems with the monk class:
- Monks end up with less attacks than fighters, although thematically monks should be the one class that can unleash a barrage of attacks in rapid succession
- Ki is the single resource needed to fuel most monk abilities, but it is scarce — this hard limit on ki prevents the monk from performing consistently
- Many monk abilities also require a bonus action, so you only get to do one special action — combine this with being capped by your ki limit and your contributions to combat will seem rather inadequate
- Monks consistently deliver below-average damage
- Stunning Strike, a signature ability, requires ki and allows for a CON save, of which many monsters have proficiency — any control spell that targets anything other than CON is better in most situations
The list goes on and on. If you’re not already depressed enough about how bad your monk is and really want to have a pity party, check out this Treantmonk’s Temple video on How Monk’s Suck in D&D.
How Revised Monk Differs from RAW Monk Class
Since we’ve established that the RAW (Rules as Written) monk is pretty bad, let’s look at how this book fixes it.
Fists of Fury
Monks should have fists of fury, not just occasional extra unarmed attacks that you might not even use since you need your limited ki for other stuff too. The first — and most important — thing this revision does is to give monks Flurry of Blows from level one as a class feature that does not require ki. The Extra Attack feature goes bye-bye, but the number of Flurry attacks scales with level and can also be used for control maneuvers.
RAW monks seem like they have a lot of options, but since many skills require both a bonus action and ki to operate, they end up doing very little. This revision allows a choice of using a bonus action or ki points to perform Patient Defense and Step of the Wind. This makes for more interesting options and decisions.
Think of your favorite martial arts movies. It’s not just about punching stuff (One-Punch Man excluded). It’s also about blocking and counterattacking. The underpowered and rarely-used Deflect Arrows has now been upgraded to Deflect Attacks, which adds options for reducing damage from melee attacks as well as ranged attacks.
To add a little more versatility to control options, this revised monk now gets a Slowing Strike and Silencing Strike, each of which uses a different saving throw than CON, so you will not be limited to just Stunning Strike.
There are several other enhancements and clarifications that help make rarely-used features a little less crappy.
- Puts the monk more on par with other martial classes
- Increased number and variety of attacks fixes some of the thematic problems with RAW monks
- Strikes can be used to shove or grapple, so you don’t have to lose all damage potential to waste an entire action to gain control options
- Better synergy of bonus actions and ki points to fuel abilities
- New Ki-Empowered Strike options that don’t rely on CON saves
- With this version of monk there is no reason to have weapons (even magical ones) in most situations, as you only gain the Flurry of Blows benefit while making unarmed attacks
- Diminishes the relative value of the Way of the Kensei vs. other archetypes, unless your DM modifies Kensei monks to apply unarmed strike features to weapon attacks
Revised Monk does a great job at bringing back many of the thematic elements that made us want to play a monk to begin with. Whereas the RAW monk failed miserably at all of its intended roles — damage, control, mobility, and tanking/defense — this version helps the class stand toe-to-toe with other martial classes and actually make a valuable contribution to the adventuring party.
Fortunately, you don’t have to shell out a ton of cash for this concise little PDF. The book is Pay What You Want, and the value is certainly worth sending a few bucks to the author. If you’re thinking about playing a monk in your next D&D adventure, you will definitely get plenty of value from it. Click here to download Revised Monk.