D&D 5e: Human Monk Guide
In 5e, humans are a versatile race that can excel at just about anything – Monks included. Here are some tips and tricks to help build the best Human Monk you can.
How to Make a Human Monk
Humans are great monks because their versatility complements the versatility of the monk class. While you won’t excel at something (at first) you’ll have a lot of options.
Depending on what your DM allows, you have a few options for rolling your Human Monk.
Default Human: Humans have an Ability Score Increase, increasing all of your scores by 1. Monks have at least minor features which depend on every ability, so if anyone was going to use the default Human, it’s the Monk.
If your campaign uses the optional feat rules from the Player’s Handbook, your Dungeon Master might allow these variant traits, all of which replace the human’s Ability Score Increase trait.
Human Variant: Two +1 increases, one skill, and a feat. Feats are very useful for the Monk, but it’s hard to fit them into your build because the Monk needs so many Ability Score Increases. Getting a feat from your race makes that much easier, allowing you to focus on important stats.
Monks should focus on WIS and DEX – WIS powers your abilities and DEX influences your attacks and armor class.
Monks have many subclasses, but a few stand out.
The Way of the Drunken Master is one of the strongest monk subclasses. Based on the idea of making your enemy think you’re more inept than you are – many of the subclass’ features focus on staying alive throughout fights.
The Way of the Long Death is another option for bulking up the otherwise-squishy Monk. Drunken Master builds focus on avoiding damage, but Way of the Long Death makes a Monk more hearty and able to take more damage.
How to Play a Human Monk
Monks excel at using their heightened movement abilities to move throughout the battlefield and attack when advantageous. You’ll want to avoid damage when possible, as you’re a bit squishy. Use your movement abilities to stay in motion and strike when ready.
Monks are light and agile fighters that use movement abilities to make up for the fact that they have low hit points and Armor Class. All monks gain Unarmored Defense and Martial Arts features at 1st level, allowing them to fight without weapons or armor.
At 2nd level Monks gain the ability to harness the power of ki – spending a ki point drives ki features. Ki points are determined by your level, and are unavailable once spent but can be refilled during a long or short rest.
How to Roleplay as a Human Monk
Humans are a blank canvas, so your story can be whatever you want.
The stereotypical monk across lots of media comes from a monastery, but that might be difficult to roleplay. Your “enlightened” character won’t understand much of the outside world, though that could create some interesting fish-out-of-water storylines.
Consider playing a wandering hermit of common stature, who’s more than meets the eye. Bandits see him as an easy target, but his powerful martial arts are not to be trifled with.
Want more info on how to make a great monk? Check out this guide: