D&D 5e: Warforged Monk Guide

A warforged monk draped in yellow robes and holding a staff in hand.

D&D 5e: Warforged Monk Guide

Removing your armor and putting down your weapons, there’s still no denying what you were made for, what you were built for. Even in a search for inner peace, there is no escaping the fact of what you are. Warforged. You are a warrior by design. You don’t need the tools of battle. You already are one.

How to Make a Warforged Monk

Starting Stats

Whether you roll or point buy, almost every monk prioritizes Dexterity above all else as it is both your offensive and defensive power. It pairs nicely with the Warforged’s feature, Integrated Protection, which gives a base Armor Class of 11 instead of 10.

The next highest priority is typically Wisdom, as it also adds to a Monk’s Armor Class and is the ability used to determine the DC of a Monk’s Saving Throws for their class features.

Combining these lines of thinking with the fact that you will be playing a Warforged, they shine with a +2 Constitution given to you for your racial bonus. The +1 to any stat of your choice can go into any ability you wish, but it never hurts boosting that Wisdom or Dexterity.

What we have the beginnings for in this setup is one of the highest Armor Class monks you could create with a naturally high Hit Point count. It becomes a very unconventional but effective frontline fighter when combined with a few subclasses. There are two in particular that greatly benefit from this defensive build.

How to Play a Warforged Monk

Way of the Astral Self

If a stat had to be sacrificed, this is a rare instance where Dexterity could be your choice and leave your Wisdom higher. If you know you plan to take the Astral Self path, being able to use your Wisdom modifier for attacking and Strength Saving Throws with the Arms of Astral Self feature is very helpful if you’re given a bad set of starting stats. The natural Armor Class of a Warforged can offset the loss of Dexterity and still give you a powerful Monk that can handle themselves in a fight.

As a utility, Sentry’s Rest combined with Astral Sight means that a warforged can keep a near perfect watch during the party’s long rest, especially with the subclass relying heavily on the Wisdom stat giving a boost to Perception checks.

Counting on a Warforged to have high HP to help take hits and their AC to avoid them, it also pairs very nicely with Energy Deflection, helping reduce damage even further. Added on with Monks getting Evasion and a Warforged Monk truly does become hard to harm.

As if to perfect it, Armor of the Spirit gives a further +2 to Armor Class, making them just as tough as fully armored party members and even more nimble.

Way of the Drunken Master

Many benefits of being a monk will be tied into all of the subclasses, and while the Drunken Master won’t have as high of AC in advanced levels as Astral Self, they still thrive with it. The feature that best utilizes this of all Monk subclasses is Tipsy Sway. With the ability to spend one Ki Point to redirect an attack that misses you to another enemy target. This makes them very handy when surrounded by enemies, taking out foes on their own turn. Combining it with Patient Defence or even just taking the Dodge Action makes you even harder to hit, making it even easier to get the chance to Redirect Attacks. If it does become too much, Drunken Technique and Leap to Your Feet make it very easy to escape to recover some health with the free Disengage and extra movement. You’ll be hard to knock down and hard to keep down with the Warforged’s HP and freedom of movement.

How to Roleplay as a Warforged Monk

As far as roleplaying, thinking of the origin of the race, playing a Warforged Monk can take many different flavorful paths. Having been built or designed for a war that is now over, you could be doing some soul searching, debating your purpose in life, or searching for one. Others still could have found their conscience during battle and are seeking inner peace after the turmoils of war or battle. You could imitate the speech patterns of a flesh and blood comrade that you admire, or you could speak in a flat monotone as if your factory preset was never changed. Or if vocals weren’t important to your designer or creator, you could sign to others (not that you would have to learn sign language to play a silent protagonist). Your character could emulate their friends or try to make themselves as different as possible to remove themselves from their past.

Even with the Way of the Drunken Master, the fighting style doesn’t have anything to do with consuming alcohol and is based on unreadable and strange movements, which could be part of your character’s physical design, being gyroscopically stable or double jointed specifically for mobility.

There are possibilities are endless.

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