Dotted across the landscape are monasteries–small, walled cloisters inhabited by monks who pursue personal perfection through action as well as contemplation. They train themselves to be versatile warriors skilled at fighting without weapons or armor. The inhabitants of monasteries headed by good masters serve as protectors of the people. Ready for battle even when barefoot and dressed in peasant clothes, monks can travel unnoticed among the populace, catching bandits, warlords, and corrupt nobles unawares.

In contrast, the residents of monasteries headed by evil masters rule the surrounding lands through fear, as an evil warlord and his entourage might. Evil monks make ideal spies, infiltrators, and assassins.

The individual monk is unlikely to care passionately about championing commoners or amassing wealth. She cares primarily for the perfection of her art and, thereby, her personal perfection. Her goal is to achieve a state that is beyond the mortal realm.

Adventures: A monk approaches an adventure as if it were a personal test. While not prone to showing off, monks are willing to try their skills against whatever obstacles confront them. They are not greedy for material wealth, but they eagerly seek that which can help them perfect their art.

Characteristics: The key feature of the monk is her ability to fight unarmed and unarmored. Thanks to her rigorous training, she can strike as hard as if she were armed and strike faster than a warrior with a sword.

Though a monk casts no spells, she has a magic of her own. She channels a subtle energy, called ki, which allows her to perform amazing feats. The monk's best-known feat is her ability to stun an opponent with an unarmed blow. A monk also has a preternatural awareness that allows her to dodge an attack even if she is not consciously aware of it.

As the monk gains experience and power, her mundane and kioriented abilities grow, giving her more and more power over herself and, sometimes, over others.

Alignment: A monk's training requires strict discipline. Only those who are lawful at heart are capable of undertaking it.

Religion: A monk's training is her spiritual path. She is innerdirected and capable of a private, mystic connection to the spiritual world, so she needs neither clerics nor gods. Certain lawful gods, however, may appeal to monks, who may meditate on the gods' likenesses and attempt to emulate their deeds. The three most likely candidates for a monk's devotion are Heironeous (god of valor), St. Cuthbert (god of retribution), and Hextor (god of tyranny).

Background: A monk typically trains in a monastery. Most monks were children when they joined the monastery, sent to live there when their parents died, when there wasn't enough food to support them, or in return for some kindness that the monastery had performed for the family. Life in the monastery is so focused that by the time a monk sets off on her own, she feels little connection to her former family or village.

In larger cities, master monks have set up monk schools to teach their arts to those who are interested and worthy. The monks who study at these academies often see their rural cousins from the monasteries as backward.

A monk may feel a deep connection to her monastery or school, to the monk who taught her, to the lineage into which she was trained, or to all of these. Some monks, however, have no sense of connection other than to their own path of personal development.

Monks recognize each other as a select group set apart from the rest of the populace. They may feel kinship, but they also love to compete with each other to see whose ki is strongest.

Races: Monasteries are found primarily among humans, who have incorporated them into their ever-evolving culture. Thus, many monks are humans, and many are half-orcs and half-elves who live among humans. Elves are capable of single-minded, long-term devotion to an interest, art, or discipline, and some of them leave the forests to become monks. The monk tradition is alien to dwarf and gnome culture, and halflings typically have too mobile a lifestyle to commit themselves to a monastery, so dwarves, gnomes, and halflings very rarely become monks.

The savage humanoids do not have the stable social structure that allows monk training, but the occasional orphaned or abandoned child from some humanoid tribe winds up in a civilized monastery or is adopted by a wandering master. The evil subterranean elves known as the drow have a small but successful monk tradition.

Other Classes: Monks sometimes seem distant because they often have neither motivation nor skills in common with members of other classes. Monks do, however, work well with the support of others, and they usually prove themselves reliable companions.

Role: The monk functions best as an opportunistic combatant, using her speed to get into and out of combat quickly rather than engaging in prolonged melees. She also makes an excellent scout, particularly if she focuses her skill selection on stealth.

Game Rule Information

Monks have the following game statistics.

Abilities: Wisdom powers the monk's special offensive and defensive capabilities. Dexterity provides the unarmored monk with a better defense and with bonuses to some class skills. Strength helps a monk's unarmed combat ability.

Alignment: Any lawful.

Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills: The monk's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Int/Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) × 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the monk.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Monks are proficient with certain basic peasant weapons and some special weapons that are part of monk training. The weapons with which a monk is proficient are club, crossbow (light or heavy), dagger, handaxe, javelin, kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, siangham, and sling. Monks are not proficient with any armor or shields–in fact, many of the monk's special powers require unfettered movement. When wearing armor, using a shield, or carrying a medium or heavy load, a monk loses her AC bonus, as well as her fast movement and flurry of blows abilities.

AC Bonus (Ex): A monk is highly trained at dodging blows, and she has a sixth sense that lets her avoid even unanticipated attacks.

When unarmored and unencumbered, the monk adds her Wisdom bonus (if any) to her AC. In addition, a monk gains a +1 bonus to AC at 5th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every five monk levels thereafter (+2 at 10th, +3 at 15th, and +4 at 20th level).

These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the monk is flat-footed. She loses these bonuses when she is immobilized or helpless, when she wears any armor, when she carries a shield, or when she carries a medium or heavy load.

Flurry of Blows (Ex): When unarmored, a monk may strike with a flurry of blows at the expense of accuracy. When doing so, she may make one extra attack in a round at her highest base attack bonus, but this attack takes a –2 penalty, as does each other attack made that round. The resulting modified base attack bonuses are shown in the Flurry of Blows Attack Bonus column on the accompanying table.

This penalty applies for 1 round, so it also affects attacks of opportunity the monk might make before her next action. When a monk reaches 5th level, the penalty lessens to –1, and at 9th level it disappears. A monk must use a full attack action to strike with a flurry of blows.

When using flurry of blows, a monk may attack only with unarmed strikes or with special monk weapons (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham). She may attack with unarmed strikes and special monk weapons interchangeably as desired. For example, at 6th level, the monk Ember could make one attack with her unarmed strike at an attack bonus of +3 and one attack with a special monk weapon at an attack bonus of +3. When using weapons as part of a flurry of blows, a monk applies her Strength bonus (not Str bonus × 1-1/2 or × 1/2) to her damage rolls for all successful attacks, whether she wields a weapon in one or both hands. The monk can't use any weapon other than a special monk weapon as part of a flurry of blows.

In the case of the quarterstaff, each end counts as a separate weapon for the purpose of using the flurry of blows ability. Even though the quarterstaff requires two hands to use, a monk may still intersperse unarmed strikes with quarterstaff strikes, assuming that she has enough attacks in her flurry of blows routine to do so. For example, an 8th-level monk could make two attacks with the quarterstaff (one with each end) at a +5 attack bonus and one with an unarmed strike at a +0 attack bonus, or she could attack with one end of the quarterstaff and one unarmed strike each at a +5 attack bonus, and with the other end of the quarterstaff at a +0 attack bonus, or she could attack with one end of the quarterstaff and one unarmed strike at a +5 attack bonus each, and with the other end of the quarterstaff at a +0 attack bonus.

She cannot, however, wield any other weapon at the same time that she uses a quarterstaff.

When a monk reaches 11th level, her flurry of blows ability improves. In addition to the standard single extra attack she gets from flurry of blows, she gets a second extra attack at her full base attack bonus.

Unarmed Strike: Monks are highly trained in fighting unarmed, giving them considerable advantages when doing so. At 1st level, a monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat.

A monk's attacks may be with either fist interchangeably or even from elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk may even make unarmed strikes with her hands full. There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed. A monk may thus apply her full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all her unarmed strikes.

Usually a monk's unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but she can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on her attack roll. She has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling.

A monk's unarmed strike is treated both as a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons (such as the magic fang and magic weapon spells).

A monk also deals more damage with her unarmed strikes than a normal person would. The unarmed damage on the accompanying table is for Medium monks. A Small monk deals less damage than the amount given there with her unarmed attacks, while a Large monk deals more damage.

Bonus Feat: At 1st level, a monk may select either Improved Grapple or Stunning Fist as a bonus feat. At 2nd level, she may select either Combat Reflexes or Deflect Arrows as a bonus feat. At 6th level, she may select either Improved Disarm or Improved Trip as a bonus feat. A monk need not have any of the prerequisites normally required for these feats to select them.

Evasion (Ex): A monk of 2nd level or higher can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save (such as a red dragon's fiery breath or a fireball), she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if a monk is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless monk (such as one who is unconscious or paralysed) does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Fast Movement (Ex): At 3rd level, a monk gains an enhancement bonus to her speed, as shown on the accompanying table.

A monk in armor (even light armor) or carrying a medium or heavy load loses this extra speed.

Still Mind (Ex): A monk of 3rd level or higher gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against spells and effects from the school of enchantment, since her meditation and training improve her resistance to mind-affecting attacks.

Ki Strike (Su): At 4th level, a monk's unarmed attacks are empowered with ki. Her unarmed attacks are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction. Ki strike improves with the character's monk level. At 10th level, her unarmed attacks are also treated as lawful weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction. At 16th level, her unarmed attacks are treated as adamantine weapons for the purpose of dealing damage to creatures with damage reduction and bypassing hardness.

Slow Fall (Ex): At 4th level or higher, a monk within arm's reach of a wall can use it to slow her descent. When first using this ability, she takes damage as if the fall were 20 feet shorter than it actually is.

The monk's ability to slow her fall (that is, to reduce the effective distance of the fall when next to a wall) improves with her monk level until at 20th level she can use a nearby wall to slow her descent and fall any distance without harm.

Purity of Body (Ex): At 5th level, a monk gains control over her body's immune system. She gains immunity to all diseases except for supernatural and magical diseases (such as mummy rot and lycanthropy).

Wholeness of Body (Su): At 7th level or higher, a monk can heal her own wounds. She can heal a number of hit points of damage equal to twice her current monk level each day, and she can spread this healing out among several uses.

Improved Evasion (Ex): At 9th level, a monk's evasion ability improves. She still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks such as a dragon's breath weapon or a fireball, but henceforth she takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless monk (such as one who is unconscious or paralysed) does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Diamond Body (Su): At 11th level, a monk is in such firm control of her own metabolism that she gains immunity to poisons of all kinds.

Abundant Step (Su): At 12th level or higher, a monk can slip magically between spaces, as if using the spell dimension door, once per day. Her caster level for this effect is one-half her monk level (rounded down).

Diamond Soul (Ex): At 13th level, a monk gains spell resistance equal to her current monk level + 10. In order to affect the monk with a spell, a spellcaster must get a result on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) that equals or exceeds the monk's spell resistance.

Quivering Palm (Su): Starting at 15th level, a monk can set up vibrations within the body of another creature that can thereafter be fatal if the monk so desires. She can use this quivering palm attack once a week, and she must announce her intent before making her attack roll. Constructs, oozes, plants, undead, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to critical hits cannot be affected. Otherwise, if the monk strikes successfully and the target takes damage from the blow, the quivering palm attack succeeds. Thereafter the monk can try to slay the victim at any later time, as long as the attempt is made within a number of days equal to her monk level. To make such an attempt, the monk merely wills the target to die (a free action), and unless the target makes a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 the monk's level + the monk's Wis modifier), it dies. If the saving throw is successful, the target is no longer in danger from that particular quivering palm attack, but it may still be affected by another one at a later time.

Timeless Body (Ex): Upon attaining 17th level, a monk no longer takes penalties to her ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that she has already taken, however, remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and the monk still dies of old age when her time is up.

Tongue of the Sun and Moon (Ex): A monk of 17th level or higher can speak with any living creature.

Empty Body (Su): At 19th level, a monk gains the ability to assume an ethereal state for 1 round per monk level per day, as though using the spell etherealness. She may go ethereal on a number of different occasions during any single day, as long as the total number of rounds spent in an ethereal state does not exceed her monk level.

Perfect Self: At 20th level, a monk has tuned her body with skill and quasi-magical abilities to the point that she becomes a magical creature. She is forevermore treated as an outsider (an extraplanar creature) rather than as a humanoid for the purpose of spells and magical effects. For instance, charm person does not affect her.

Additionally, the monk gains damage reduction 10/magic, which allows her to ignore the first 10 points of damage from any attack made by a nonmagical weapon or by any natural attack made by a creature that doesn't have similar damage reduction. Unlike other outsiders, the monk can still be brought back from the dead as if she were a member of her previous creature type.


A monk who becomes non-lawful cannot gain new levels as a monk but retains all monk abilities.

Like a member of any other class, a monk may be a multiclass character, but multiclass monks face a special restriction. A monk who gains a new class or (if already multiclass) raises another class by a level may never again raise her monk level, though she retains all her monk abilities.

Level Progression

Level Base Attack Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 +0 +2 +2 +2 Bonus Feat, Flurry Of Blows, Unarmed Strike
2 +1 +3 +3 +3 Bonus Feat, Evasion, Fast Movement
3 +2 +3 +3 +3 Still Mind
4 +3 +4 +4 +4 Ki Strike (magic), Slow Fall 20 ft
5 +3 +4 +4 +4 Purity Of Body
6 +4 +5 +5 +5 Bonus Feat, Slow Fall 30 ft
7 +5 +5 +5 +5 Wholeness Of Body
8 +6/+1 +6 +6 +6 Slow Fall 40 ft
9 +6/+1 +6 +6 +6 Improved Evasion
10 +7/+2 +7 +7 +7 Ki Strike (lawful), slow fall 50 ft
11 +8/+3 +7 +7 +7 Diamond Body, Greater Flurry
12 +9/+4 +8 +8 +8 Abundant Step, Slow Fall 60 ft
13 +9/+4 +8 +8 +8 Diamond Soul
14 +10/+5 +9 +9 +9 Slow Fall 70 ft
15 +11/+6/+1 +9 +9 +9 Quivering Palm
16 +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +10 Ki Strike (adamantine), slow fall 80 ft
17 +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +10 Timeless Body, Tongue Of The Sun And Moon
18 +13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +11 Slow fall 90 ft
19 +14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +11 Empty Body
20 +15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +12 Perfect Self, Slow Fall any distance

Monk Ability Progression

Level Flurry Of Blows Attack Bonus Unarmed Damage AC Bonus Unarmored Speed Bonus
Small Medium Large
1 -2/-2 1d4 1d6 1d8 +0 +0 ft
2 -1/-1 1d4 1d6 1d8 +0 +0 ft
3 +0/+0 1d4 1d6 1d8 +0 +10 ft
4 +1/+1 1d6 1d8 2d6 +0 +10 ft
5 +2/+2 1d6 1d8 2d6 +1 +10 ft
6 +3/+3 1d6 1d8 2d6 +1 +20 ft
7 +4/+4 1d6 1d8 2d6 +1 +20 ft
8 +5/+5/+0 1d8 1d10 2d8 +1 +20 ft
9 +6/+6/+1 1d8 1d10 2d8 +1 +30 ft
10 +7/+7/+2 1d8 1d10 2d8 +2 +30 ft
11 +8/+8/+8/+3 1d8 1d10 2d8 +2 +30 ft
12 +9/+9/+9/+4 1d10 2d6 3d6 +2 +40 ft
13 +9/+9/+9/+4 1d10 2d6 3d6 +2 +40 ft
14 +10/+10/+10/+5 1d10 2d6 3d6 +2 +40 ft
15 +11/+11/+11/+6/+1 1d10 2d6 3d6 +3 +50 ft
16 +12/+12/+12/+7/+2 2d6 2d8 3d8 +3 +50 ft
17 +12/+12/+12/+7/+2 2d6 2d8 3d8 +3 +50 ft
18 +13/+13/+13/+8/+3 2d6 2d8 3d8 +3 +60 ft
19 +14/+14/+14/+9/+4 2d6 2d8 3d8 +3 +60 ft
20 +15/+15/+15/+10/+5 2d8 2d10 4d8 +4 +60 ft

Starting Packages

Race: Human.
Armor: None (speed 30 ft).
Weapons: Quarterstaff (1d6/1d6, crit ×2, 4 lb., two-handed, bludgeoning).
Sling (1d4, crit ×2, range inc. 50 ft., 0 lb., bludgeoning).
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 5 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor Check Penalty
Listen 4 Wis
Climb 4 Str 0
Move Silently 4 Dex 0
Tumble 4 Dex 0
Jump 4 Str 0
Escape Artist 4 Dex 0
Hide 4 Dex 0
Swim 4 Str 0
Balance 4 Dex 0

Feat: If Dexterity is 13 or higher, Dodge; if Dexterity is 12 or lower, Improved Initiative instead.
Bonus Feat: If Dexterity is 13 or higher, Mobility; if Dexterity is 12 or lower, Blind-Fight instead.
Gear: Backpack with waterskin, one day's trail rations, bedroll, sack, and flint and steel. Three torches. Pouch with 10 sling stones.
Gold: 2d4 gp.

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