One of the most underrated classes in Baldur’s Gate 3 would be the Monk. These agile and mystic warriors use Ki energy to become masters of unarmed combat, swiftly darting across the battlefield. And because they prefer to use fists or staves instead of sharp weapons, they give off a less intimidating presence. Thankfully, our Baldur’s Gate 3 Monk build guide will dispel that impression.
In our guide, we’ll detail the key (or Ki) aspects of creating the ultimate Baldur’s Gate 3 Monk build, covering playstyle, subclass selection, race choices, background, skills, and leveling strategies.
Choosing your Monk playstyle
Monks excel at melee combat, using their fists as deadly weapons. They are fast and strong, making them great for hit-and-run tactics, but they can also hold their ground in prolonged battles.
While it’s good to experiment with other playstyles (dictated by weapons), the best Monk build (right now) relies on unarmed attacks. One of the most overpowered builds in Baldur’s Gate 3 is the Tavern Brawler multiclass build (between Monk, Rogue, and the Fighter), which lets the multiclass combo deal 400-500 damage total over dozens of punches in a single turn.
But for the sake of simplicity, we’re gonna have to stick with the core class of the Tavern Brawler build, which is the Monk. It takes up a huge chunk of the Tavern Brawler multiclass build anyway. Consider this build as a mono-class and weaker version of the Tavern Brawler multiclass build.
As a Monk, you’ll rely on Ki and the Tavern Brawler feat to inflict a staggering number of multiple punches, making your character a DPS powerhouse.
Best Monk Subclass – Way of the Open Hand
While Baldur’s Gate 3 offers various Monk subclasses, the Way of the Open Hand stands out as the top choice for our Monk build simply because it’s also the top choice for the Tavern Brawler multiclass build.
While other subclasses, like the Way of Shadows and Way of the Four Elements, have their merits, the Way of the Open Hand aligns best with the traditional Monk’s martial prowess. Moreover, it’s the one that synergizes the most with the Tavern Brawler feat.
Ideal race, background, and skills for Monks
Selecting the right race, background, and skills can significantly enhance your Monk’s capabilities. Since you’ll be attacking in melee range, you want a race with extra movement speed.
Other choices will cater to the Tavern Brawler playstyle.
Best races for Monk
- Wood Elf/Wood Half-Elf make excellent Monks due to their unique racial traits. They possess Darkvision, making them adept at navigating dark environments. Fey Ancestry provides resistance to charm effects and immunity to sleep magic, ensuring your Monk remains battle-ready. The Wood Elf subrace offers a Fleet of Foot bonus, granting increased movement speed.
- Half-Orc is also a good race for melee sluggers since they also have Darkvision, innate tankiness via Relentless Endurance, and Savage Attacks, which can further boost critical hits. You’ll be attacking a lot with this build, so you’ll see a fair number of critical hits.
- It’s a fitting background for a Monk, and its benefits are incredibly useful. Proficiencies in Athletics and Survival are essential for avoiding longevity during combat encounters and exploration.
Skills: Acrobatics and Sleight of Hand
- Acrobatics improves your ability to maintain balance in challenging situations, and it also can increase your jump distance, while Sleight of Hand makes locks a lot less annoying. You might even open up plenty of doors for new opportunities. Both skills contribute to your Monk’s agility and combat prowess.
Ability Score allocation
- Strength (17): Your primary stat, Strength, increases your damage output and ensures you hit harder in melee combat. You’ll have to prioritize getting this to 20 (or close) later.
- Dexterity (15): Dexterity improves your Initiative.
- Constitution (16): Constitution increases your hit points (HP), making you more resilient in battle.
- Wisdom (8), Intelligence (8), Charisma (8): These can be safely set to 8 points each to allocate more to your core stats.
It’s an unconventional stat spread for a Monk since Way of the Open Hand appears to thrive on Dexterity, but this build’s key feat, Tavern Brawler, scales off Strength. Tavern Brawler adds your Strength modifier to unarmed attacks, so you want your Strength high.
Actually, in Tavern Brawler’s case for Monks, it adds both Strength and Dexterity modifiers. That’s where this build’s damage potential comes from. You still don’t want to neglect Dexterity since it helps a lot in Initiative rolls.
Best Monk Build Leveling Guide 1-12
To create a potent Monk build, consider the following leveling guide for levels 1 through 12:
- Level 1: Flurry of Blows (Action, your main mode of damage) — Ki — Unarmored Defence (Class Feature) — Martial Arts class features
- Level 2: Patient Defence — Step of the Wind class features
- Level 3: Deflect Missiles — Martial Arts
- Level 4: Slow Fall — Feat: Tavern Brawler (+1 Strength) this is crucial for the build
- Level 5: Extra Attack — Stunning Strike
- Level 6: Improved Unarmoured Movement (Class Feature) — Ki-Empowered Strikes (Class Feature)
- Level 7: Evasion (Class Feature) — Stillness of Mind (Class Feature)
- Level 8: Feat: Ability Score Improvement (prioritize putting Strength to 20)
- Level 9: Advanced Unarmoured Movement (Class Feature) — Martial Arts
- Level 10: Improved Unarmoured Movement (Class Feature) — Purity of Body (Class Feature)
- Level 11: —
- Level 12: Feat: Alert or Ability Score Improvement (either Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution)
- Monk and Rogue: Rogue and its Thief subclass give an extra bonus action. Monks can use Ki as a bonus action to use more Ki for Flurry of Blows. That’s just awesome synergy. It’s not worth it going beyond level 3 for Thief, though.
- Monk and Fighter: Another match made in heaven for Monks in Baldur’s Gate 3, it pairs the Fighter’s feature for multi-attack with the Monk’s Flurry of Blows. You can get more attacks per turn. Level 2 is enough for this, though feel free to grab Fighter’s Battle Master subclass at Level 3 for more combat variety.
That’s it for our Monk build. It’s up to you to find the right items so you can further boost the Tavern Brawler interaction, but even without items, this build is capable of putting out maybe 100-200 damage per turn if you pull off the attack sequence correctly.