The Monk - Rework

by eliec

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The Monk, Reimagined

The aim of this homebrew is to rebuild D&D 5e's Monk class into a better chassis. I am not going to dive into all of the problems with the current class (Treantmonk does that better than I ever could) but my goal here is to build a class that actually feels like a mystic or a master of martial arts.

Monk
Level Proficiency Bonus Features Martial Arts Die Techniques Known
1st +2 Martial Arts, Agile Defense d4 -
2nd +2 Agile Movement, Ki d4 3
3rd +2 Deflect Missiles, Monastic Tradition d4 3
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement, Slow Fall d4 3
5th +3 Extra Attack, Evasion d6 4
6th +3 Ki-empowered Strikes, Monastic Tradition Feature d6 4
7th +3 Stillness of Mind, Purity of Body d6 4
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement d6 5
9th +4 Agile Movement Improvement d8 5
10th +4 Diamond Soul d8 5
11th +4 Monastic Tradition Feature d8 6
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement d8 6
13th +5 Internal Alchemy d10 6
14th +5 Empty Body d10 7
15th +5 Timeless Body d10 7
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement d10 7
17th +6 Monastic Tradition Feature d12 8
18th +6 Untethered Soul d12 8
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement d12 8
20th +6 One with the Ki d12 9

Martial Arts

At 1st level, your practice of martial arts gives you mastery of combat styles that use unarmed strikes and monk weapons, which are shortswords, improvised weapons, and any simple weapons that don't have the two-handed or heavy property. For the purpose of these rules, unarmed strikes count as Monk weapons as well.

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 monk weapons.
  • You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your monk weapon. This die changes as you gain monk levels, as shown in the Martial Arts column of the Monk table.
  • When you take the Attack action, you can use your bonus action to make one attack with a Monk weapon. You must use your Martial Arts die for this attack's damage roll instead of the weapon's usual damage dice.

Agile Defense

Also at 1st level your extensive training allows you to avoid attacks with ease. While you are not wearing armor nor using a shield, your AC is equal to 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier. Furthermore, you can add half your Proficiency bonus (rounded down) to your AC. You lose this bonus if you wear medium or heavy armor, use a shield, become incapacitated, or if your speed drops to 0.

Agile Movement

Starting at 2nd level, while you benefit from adding your Proficiency bonus to your AC your movement speed also increases by an amount equal to 5 times your proficiency bonus. At 9th level, you gain the ability to move along vertical surfaces and across liquids on your turn without falling during the move.

Ki

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. Your monk level determines the number of points you have, as shown in the Ki Points column of the Monk table.

You can spend Ki points to use certain Techniques. You learn a number of these Techniques as described in the Monk class table. You must meet all of a Technique's requirements before you can learn it. Whenever you gain a level, you can replace one Technique that you know with another one for which you also meet all requirements. Most Techniques have two effects: One effect that is always affecting you or that you can use at will, and one which will require spending a Ki point to activate.

When you spend a ki point, it is unavailable until you finish a short or 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 Techniques 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

Starting at 3rd level, you can use your reaction to deflect or catch the missile when you are hit by a ranged weapon attack. 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. If you catch a missile in this way, you can spend 1 ki point to make a ranged attack with a range of 20/60 using the weapon or piece of ammunition you just caught, as part of the same reaction. You make this attack with proficiency, regardless of your weapon proficiencies, and the missile counts as a monk weapon for the attack.

Monastic Tradition

When you reach 3rd level, you commit yourself to a monastic tradition. Your tradition grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 11th, and 17th level.

Ki-Fueled Attack

Also at 3rd level, if you spend 1 ki point or more as part of your action on your turn, you can make one attack with a monk weapon as a bonus action before the end of the turn.

Ability Score Improvement

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.

Slow Fall

Beginning at 4th level, you can use your reaction when you fall to reduce any falling damage you take by an amount equal to five times your monk level.

Extra Attack

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

Evasion

Also at 5th 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.

Ki-Empowered Strikes

Starting at 6th level, your attacks with Monk weapons count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

Stillness of Mind

Starting at 7th level, you have advantage on saving throws to avoid being charmed or frightened.

Purity of Body

At 7th level, your mastery of the ki flowing through you makes you immune to disease and poison.

Diamond Soul

Beginning at 10th level, your mastery of ki grants you proficiency in all saving throws.

Additionally, whenever you make a saving throw and fail, you can spend 1 ki point to reroll it and take the second result.

Internal Alchemy

Starting at 13th level, you have learned to manipulate your body's natural processes to accelerate your healing. For each Hit Die that you spend in order to regain hit points, you also roll one Martial Arts die and add its result to the number of hit points that you regain.

Empty Body

Beginning at 14th level, you can use your action to spend 4 ki points to become invisible for 1 minute.

Timeless Body

At 15th level, your ki sustains you so that you suffer none of the frailty of old age, and you can't be aged magically. You can still die of old age, however. In addition, you no longer need food or water.

Untethered Soul

Additionally, you can spend 8 ki points to cast the Astral Projection spell, without needing material components. When you do so, you can't take any other creatures with you.

One with the Ki

At 20th level you have reached the pinnacle of attunement with Ki. Whenever you roll for initiative or score a critical hit, you can roll one Martial Arts die and regain a number of spent Ki points equal to the result.

Monastic Traditions

Way of the Drunken Master

The Way of the Drunken Master teaches its students to move with the jerky, unpredictable movements of a drunkard. A drunken master sways, tottering on unsteady feet, to present what seems like an incompetent combatant who proves frustrating to engage. The drunken master’s erratic stumbles conceal a carefully executed dance of blocks, parries, advances, attacks, and retreats.

Drunken Technique

Starting at 3rd level you gain proficiency with brewer's supplies if you didn't already have it. When you take a long rest, you can create a number of Brews up to your proficiency modifiers that only you can use. You can drink one of these Brews as if you were using an item, and once drunken you are under their influence for 1 minute. While you are under the influence you suffer from disadvantage on Persuasion or Deception checks, but whenever you are the target of a melee attack roll you can roll one Martial Arts die and adds half its result (rounded up) to your AC against this attack alone.

Drunk Pounds on Door

Starting at 6th level, whenever an attacker misses you with a melee attack you can use your reaction to make an attack against them with a Monk weapon. If you had rolled a Martial Arts die as a result of your Drunken Technique against this attack you can add the number shown on it to your damage roll if your counter attack is successful.

Drunkard's Luck

Starting at 11th level, whenever you reroll a saving throw through your Diamond Soul feature you do so with advantage.

Intoxicated Frenzy

Starting at 17th level, whenever you use the Attack action you may make two additional melee attacks with a Monk weapon. Each attack must target a different enemy.

Way of the Four Elements

You follow a monastic tradition that teaches you to harness the elements. When you focus your ki, you can align yourself with the forces of creation and bend the four elements to your will, using them as an extension of your body. Some members of this tradition dedicate themselves to a single element, but others weave the elements together.

Disciple of the Elements

When you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you learn magical disciplines that harness the power of the four elements.

You know a number of spells equal to your Proficiency bonus. You can learn a spell only if its level is less than your proficiency bonus. You can replace one spell that you know with a different one when you gain a new level. These spells must be taken from the list of spells at the end of this class description. You also know two cantrips from the same spell list, and when you gain a new level you can replace one cantrip with a different one from this list.

You can cast these spells by spending a number of Ki points equal to their level. You can cast these spells at a higher level by spending one additional Ki point per level. The total number of Ki points spent on a spell cannot exceed your proficiency bonus. Cantrips do not cost Ki points and cannot be cast at a higher level.

Elemental Attunement

Starting at 6th level, you can choose one element out of lightning, cold, fire, and acid at the end of a long rest. You have resistance to damage of this type until the end of your next long rest.

At 11th level, whenever you deal damage of the type that you chose you can reroll any dice that come up as 1, once. You must accept the second result on rerolled dice.

At 17th level you can choose to attune yourself to two different elements.

Way of the Kensei

Monks of the Way of the Kensei train relentlessly with their weapons, to the point that the weapon becomes like an extension of the body. Founded on a mastery of sword fighting, the tradition has expanded to include many different weapons.

Path of the Kensei

When you embrace this tradition at level 3, you can choose two martial or simple weapons that do not have the Special property: These weapons now count as Monk weapons for you. You can choose one additional weapon at levels 6, 11, and 17. You can also replace one of your chosen weapons with another whenever you gain a level.

Furthermore, you can meditate on a single weapon during a long rest: Until the end of your next long rest, this weapon gains a non-magical bonus to attack and damage equal to half your proficiency modifier, rounded down. If this weapon already had one such bonus, use the greater of the two.

Finally, you gain proficiency with your choice of calligrapher's supplies or painter's supplies.

Strike as Iron

Starting at 6th level, your knowledge of weapons allows you to use them to their fullest extent. When you make an attack with a Monk weapon, you ignore resistance to this weapon's damage type and treat immunity as resistance.

The Arrow Knows the Way

Starting at 11th level, you gain blindsight within a 10 ft radius around you and you do not suffer from disadvantage on ranged attacks due to blindness.

Unerring Accuracy

At 17th level, your mastery of weapons grants you extraordinary accuracy. If you miss with an attack roll using a monk weapon on your turn, you can reroll it. You can use this feature once for free on each of your turns, and can use it additional times by spending one Ki point per attack. You can only reroll each attack once.

Way of the Long Death

Monks of the Way of the Long Death are obsessed with the meaning and mechanics of dying.

Touch of Death

Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, your study of death allows you to extract vitality from another creature as it nears its demise. When you reduce a creature within 5 feet of you to 0 hit points, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Wisdom modifier + your monk level (minimum of 1 temporary hit point). Furthermore, you can also choose to change the damage type of any attack you make with a Monk weapon to necrotic damage.

Hour of Reaping

Starting at 6th level, you can channel the power of death around you. As an action you can activate a 10 foot aura around you that lasts until the beginning of your next turn. Any creatures that enters the aura or begins its turn within it takes necrotic damage equal to your Wisdom modifier and must make a Wisdom saving throw or be terrified of you until the beginning of its next turn.

Mastery of Death

Beginning at 11th level, you use your familiarity with death to escape its grasp. When you are reduced to 0 hit points, you can expend 1 ki point (no action required) to have 1 hit point instead.

Touch of Death

When you hit a living creature with a melee attack, you can choose to spend a number of Ki points up to your proficiency bonus and roll an equal number of Martial Arts dice. The creature takes this amount of necrotic damage, and you regain a number of Hit Points equal to the Hit Points lost by your target.

Way of the Open Hand

Monks of the Way of the Open Hand are the ultimate masters of martial arts combat, whether armed or unarmed. They learn techniques to push and trip their opponents, manipulate ki to heal damage to their bodies, and practice advanced meditation that can protect them from harm.

Open Hand Technique

Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you can manipulate your enemy's ki when you harness your own. Whenever you hit a creature with an attack on which you had spent at least one Ki point, you can impose one of the following effects on that target:

  • It must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone.
  • It must make a Strength saving throw. If it fails, you can push it up to 15 feet away from you.
  • It can't take reactions until the end of your next turn.

Wholeness of Body

At 6th level, you gain the ability to heal yourself. As an action, you can regain hit points equal to three times your monk level. You must finish a long rest before you can use this feature again.

Balance of Ki

Starting at 11th level, you regain 1 Ki point whenever you reduce a creature to 0 Hit Points.

Quivering Palm

At 17th level, you gain the ability to set up lethal vibrations in someone's body. When you hit a creature with a Monk weapon, you can spend 3 ki points to start these imperceptible vibrations, which last for a number of days equal to your monk level. The vibrations are harmless unless you use your action to end them. To do so, you and the target must be on the same plane of existence. When you use this action, the creature must make a Constitution saving throw. If it fails, it is reduced to 0 hit points. If it succeeds, it takes 10d10 necrotic damage.

You can have only one creature under the effect of this feature at a time. You can choose to end the vibrations harmlessly without using an action.

Way of Shadows

Monks of the Way of Shadow follow a tradition that values stealth and subterfuge. These monks might be called ninjas or shadowdancers, and they serve as spies and assassins.

Shadow Arts

Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you can use your ki to duplicate the effects of certain spells. As an action, you can spend 2 ki points to cast Darkness, Darkvision, Pass without Trace, or Silence, without providing material components. Additionally, you gain the Minor Illusion cantrip if you don't already know it.

Finally, you can see normally through the Darkness spell if you cast it with this feature.

Shadow Step

At 6th level, you gain the ability to step from one shadow into another. When you are in dim light or darkness, as a bonus action you can teleport up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space you can see that is also in dim light or darkness. You then have advantage on the first attack you make before the end of the turn.

Cloak of Shadows

By 11th level, you have learned to become one with the shadows. When you are in an area of dim light or darkness, you can use your action to become invisible. You remain invisible until you make an attack, cast a spell, or are in an area of bright light.

Shadow Portal

At 17th level, whenever you use your Shadow Step feature you can target one creature within 5 feet of you, which is one size larger than you or less, and force it to make a Dexterity saving throw. If it fails or chooses not to resist, the creature is teleported with you and reappears in an empty space within 5 feet of where you reappear. You cannot teleport a creature if there would not be space for it to reappear at your destination.

Way of the Sun Soul

Monks of the Way of the Sun Soul learn to channel their own life energy into searing bolts of light. They teach that meditation can unlock the ability to unleash the indomitable light shed by the soul of every living creature.

Radian Sun Bolt

When you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you can channel your Ki into blasts of radiant energy that sear your enemies. These blasts have a range of 30/60 and deal radiant damage equal to your Martial Arts die. They count as Monk weapons for you and you can use them on any attack for which you could normally use a Monk weapon (this includes the additional attacks granted by Martial Arts or Ki techniques). You can also choose to change the damage type of any attack you make with a Monk weapon to radiant damage.

Searing Arc Strike

At 6th level, you can unleash a brilliant wave of energy at short range. As an action, you can spend 2 Ki points to force all creatures within a 15 foot cone of you to make a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes radiant damage equal to three times your martial arts dice and suffers from the Blinded condition until the end of your next turn on a failed saving throw. They only suffer from half damage and do not get Blinded on a successful saving throw. You can spend additional Ki points to add one Martial Arts dice to the damage of this attack per spent Ki point, up to your proficiency bonus.

Stare into the Sun

At 11th level you can channel your Ki into a dazzling aura. As a bonus action, you can choose to activate an aura that sheds bright light in a 30 foot radius. You can extinguish this aura at will. Whenever a creature within this aura targets you with an attack roll, you can spend 1 Ki point to impose disadvantage on this roll.

Wrath of the Sun

At 17th level, you gain the ability to create an orb of light that erupts into a devastating explosion. As an action, you choose to spend between 1 and 10 Ki points to magically create an orb and hurl it at a point you choose within 150 feet, where it erupts into a sphere of radiant light for a brief but deadly instant. You roll a number of Martial Arts dice equal to the number of Ki points you spent. Any creature caught within the blast must make a Dexterity saving throw or suffer from an amount of radiant damage equal to the number you rolled. Creatures take half damage on a successful saving throw.

Techniques

Bronze Shattering Palm

When you hit a creature with a Monk weapon, you can choose to shove it backwards 5 feet if it is one size larger than you or less. You can spend 1 Ki point to force it to make a Strength saving throw: If it fails, it it shoved backwards 15 feet and knocked prone instead.

Dragon's Roar

When you take the Attack action, you can choose to have one of your melee attacks with a Monk weapon target all creatures within 5 feet of you. You can spend 1 Ki point to target all creatures within a 15 foot cone in front of you instead.

Eagle's Talons

If you travel at least 15 feet before making a successful melee attack, the target of your attack must make a Strength saving throw to avoid being knocked prone if it is one size larger than you or less. You can spend 1 Ki point to impose disadvantage on the target's saving throw.

Flying Guillotine

Improvised weapons gain the Thrown property with a range of 20/60 for you if they lack the two-handed or heavy property. You can spend 1 Ki point to ignore that restriction.

Flowing River

Whenever you are the target of a melee attack, you can use your reaction to reduce the damage by your Martial Arts die + your Dexterity modifier + your Monk level. If reduces the damage to 0, you can spend 1 Ki point to force your attacker to make a Dexterity saving throw if they are one size larger than you or less. The attacker is knocked prone on a failed saving throw.

Flurry of Blows

When you make a bonus action attack using your Martial Arts feature, you can instead choose to make two attacks at a disadvantage. When you take the Attack action, you can spend Ki points to make one additional attack per Ki point spent with a Monk weapon. These attacks use your Martial Arts dice instead of the weapon's usual damage dice. The total number of attacks that you make with this Attack action cannot exceed your Proficiency bonus.

Gentle Art

You can use your Wisdom modifier instead of your Strength modifier when you make an Athletics roll to grapple or shove a creature. You can spend 1 Ki point to impose disadvantage on a creature's attempt to resist or escape your grapple.

Iron Shirt

At the beginning of your turn, you can choose to reduce your speed to 0 and gain resistance to either slashing, piercing, or bludgeoning damage until the beginning of your next turn. You can spend 1 Ki point and gain resistance to all 3 damage types until the beginning of your next turn instead, but you must still reduce your speed to 0.

Step of the Wind

You can take the Dash action as a bonus action. When you do so, you can choose to spend 1 Ki point to gain a flying speed equal to your walking speed until the end of your turn. You fall if you end your turn in the air and nothing else is holding you aloft.

Stunning Strike

Whenever you make a successful melee attack against a creature, this creature cannot make opportunity attacks against you until the end of your turn. You can spend 1 Ki point to force this creature to make a Constitution saving throw: If it fails, it is stunned until the end of your next turn.

Tiger's Fangs

You score a critical hit on a 19 or 20 when you make attacks with a Monk weapon. Furthermore, after you make a successful attack with a Monk weapon you can spend a number of Ki points up to your proficiency bonus: You roll one Martial Arts die per spent Ki point and add them to the attack's damage roll.

Thread the Needle

You gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls made with Monk weapons. You can spend 1 Ki point to give yourself advantage on the next attack you make with a Monk weapon.

Four Elements Spell List

Cantrips (0 Level)
  • Acid Splash
  • Control Flame
  • Firebolt
  • Gust
  • Mold Earth
  • Ray of Frost
  • Shape Water
  • Shocking Grasp
1st Level
  • Absorb Elements
  • Burning Hands
  • Create or Destroy Water
  • Fog Cloud
  • Ice Knife
  • Thunderwave
2nd Level
  • Dragon's Breath
  • Flaming Sphere
  • Gust of Wind
  • Hold Person
  • Shatter
  • Warding Wind
3rd Level
  • Elemental Weapon
  • Erupting Earth
  • Fireball
  • Gaseous Form
  • Fly
  • Lightning Bolt
  • Tidal Wave
  • Wall of Sand
  • Wall of Water
  • Wind Wall
4th Level
  • Control Water
  • Fire Shield
  • Stoneskin
  • Wall of Fire
  • Watery Sphere
5th Level
  • Cone of Cold
  • Control Winds
  • Wall of Stone
 

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