D&D 5e: Half-Orc Monk Guide

D&D 5e: Half-Orc Monk Guide

Half-orcs are perhaps one of the most interesting races in the Player Handbook. They are not full orcs, though they are similarly marked by the orc god Gruumsh. This means they sometimes feel tempted towards their more orcish tendencies for rage and violence. Half-orcs also have darkvision and extra-damage criticals from Savage Attacks, but the signature feature of a half-orc is Relentless Endurance. Once per long rest you essentially can say no to death and stay at 1hp instead of falling unconscious, unless the damage would kill you outright. With their muscles, tenacity, and restrained rage, half-orcs are practically asking to be trained in the way of a martial class such as the monk.

How to Make a Half-Orc Monk

Monks generally tend to focus on dexterity as their main stat, as this will be the determining factor in your special unarmored defense, and in your attack power with your monk weapons. If you want to play a strength-based monk, I suggest asking your DM if you can use strength for the unarmored defense feature instead. 

Wisdom will also be of vital importance, as this determines the other half of your armor class as well as your abilities related to your KI points. It’s because of these two vital stats that you’d rather focus on dex than strength. All other stats are up to preference

Monks are completely self-contained, your body is your armor and your hands are your weapons. You’ll also have access to monk weapons, and the most effective of these will usually be a quarterstaff at early levels as it can do up to a d8 in damage. 

Monk subclasses are called Monastic Traditions, and you have a good few to choose from. Way of the Open Hand is likely most easily recognizable (お前はもう死んでる omae wa mou shinderu anyone? ), whereas Way of the Four Elements will resemble one of the benders from Avatar: The Last Airbender. The classic Drunken Master is also self-explanatory. All of these can be pretty powerful, although the Traditions added by Xanathars Guide are considered top tier.

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How to Play a Half-Orc Monk

As a monk, you have a pool of KI points that you can burn to bring about special effects. Some of these allow you to get more hits in, others might allow you to temporarily incapacitate a foe. You’ll also be using KI points to fuel some of your subclass abilities. You don’t have too many points starting, but the good news is you get them all back after a short rest. Feel free to convince the group to take an in-game lunch break if you need to recharge. When you’re not using these KI points, you’ll usually be up close and in the fray.

How to Roleplay as a Half-Orc Monk

The idea behind the Monastic Traditions of a monk is that these traditions originated from a monastery of some kind, but that doesn’t have to mean you were trained there. 

Maybe you met a wandering master who took you in under themselves, or you learned from imitation seeing monks fight. Get creative with your background, the traditional stoic and principled lawful monk is just as fun as the chaotic and carefree monk.

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Image Credit: Merwild , Pathfinder 2E Sourcebook

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