Baldur's Gate 3 - Monk Class Guide
Learn about the Monk's capabilities in Baldur's Gate 3.
The Baldur's Gate 3 Monk class offers a lot of versatility. With it, you can strike foes with staves, follow up with punches, do sneaky strikes, and harness the power of the elements. Our Baldur's Gate 3 Monk class guide discusses what you can expect if you choose this class for your campaign.
Baldur's Gate 3 Monk class guide overview
Our Baldur's Gate 3 Monk class guide acts as an overview of its strengths. We also take note of ideal options during character creation. Once you're finished with our overview, we suggest visiting our best build guide for this class.
Monk Class Summary
- Action: Flurry of Blows - Punch twice in quick succession; deals 1d4+3 bludgeoning damage, twice.
- Ki - This is the force that flows through all living beings. A Monk's special abilities use up Ki Points.
- Unarmoured Defense - While not wearing armor, add your Wisdom modifier to your armor class (AC).
- Martial Arts: Dexterous Attacks - Attacks while unarmed and with Monk weapons (i.e., those that you're proficient in, and aren't counted as two-handed or great weapons) scale with your Dexterity instead of Strength (if your DEX is higher).
- Martial Arts: Deft Strikes - Unarmed attacks and those done with Monk weapons deal 1-4 bludgeoning damage, unless their normal damage is higher.
- Martial Arts: Bonus Unarmed Strike - After making an unarmed attack or a Monk weapon attack, you can use a bonus action to do another unarmed attack.
This is primarily based on your race/sub-race. We suggest picking the Wood Half-Elf (more on this in a while). That grants you proficiencies with simple weapons, shortswords, spears, pikes, halberds, glaives, light armor, and shields.
The Baldur's Gate 3 Monk subclasses aren't available by default. Instead, your character must reach level 3 first. Thankfully, the game is quite lenient, as you can respec and change classes.
Way of the Four Elements
The Way of the Four Elements subclass allows you to choose from elemental spells to complement your melee strikes. These tend to be variants of existing spellcaster magic, with the key differences being that they use up Ki Points, and have DEX, STR, or CON saves. Examples include Fist of Four Thunders (i.e. Thunderwave), Sphere of Elemental Balance (i.e. Chromatic Orb), and Chill of the Mountain (i.e. Ray of Frost).
Way of the Open Hand
The Way of the Open Hand subclass is a bit like the Battle Master Fighter in that it's for crowd control. It modifies your Flurry of Blows to have an additional effect, such as pushing away a target or knocking them prone.
Way of Shadow
Think of the Way of Shadow subclass as a Monk-Rogue hybrid. With it, you gain actions that help you succeed in stealth checks, debuffs that can blind and silence foes, or illusions to distract targets.
Character Creation Picks
Best Race and Sub-race
As mentioned earlier, our pick for our Baldur's Gate 3 Monk class guide is the Wood Half-Elf, which provides the following perks:
- Base Racial Speed - Nine meters.
- Civil Militia - Weapon proficiency with spears, pikes, halberds, and glaives; armor proficiency with light armor and shields.
- Darkvision - Can see in the dark up to 12 meters.
- Fey Ancestry - Advantage on saving throws against being charmed; magic can't put you to sleep.
- Fleet of Foot - Adds 1.5 meters to movement range.
The Wood Half-Elf is highly mobile, which is important for Monks. It's also proficient in a variety of weapons that are quite decent in the long run. Moreover, Darkvision is necessary as a melee warrior, since you often battle enemies in dimly lit areas.
The alternative is the Githyanki, which has the following boons:
- Astral Knowledge - Gain proficiency in all skills of a chosen ability; lasts until a long rest.
- Githyanki Psionics: Mage Hand - Conjure a spectral hand that can manipulate and interact with objects.
- Base Racial Speed - Nine meters.
- Martial Prodigy - Armor proficiency in light and medium armor; weapon proficiency in shortswords, longswords, and greatswords.
- Githyanki Psionics: Jump - Triples your jump distance; unlocked at level 3.
- Misty Step - Lets you teleport to a spot that you can see (once per long rest); unlocked at level 5.
Githyanki are significantly more mobile, thanks to perks that are learned as they level up. The downsides are that you won't have Darkvision, and you're unlikely to use swords for your weaponry, let alone two-handed greatswords.
Backgrounds are generally up to you, as they add to the role-playing and flavor themes. However, since you focus primarily on Dexterity and Wisdom, it's a good idea to try the Urchin background (increases Sleight of Hand and Stealth), though this might not be necessary if you have Astarion in your squad often.
There's also Acolyte (Insight and Religion), as well as Outlander (Athletics and Survival). Lastly, be forewarned that picking the Dark Urge origin locks you to the Haunted One background, which has Medicine and Intimidation as preferred skills.
The Baldur's Gate 3 Monk relies heavily on Dexterity as a main stat for damage scaling due to the Dexterous Attacks feature. Wisdom is also necessary because of Unarmored Defense. And, of course, a bit of Constitution helps for more HP. Ideally, you'd have this kind of stat distribution:
- Strength: 10 or 12
- Dexterity: 17 - You can get +2 points from your first feat at level 4. You may also obtain an additional point by defeating Auntie Ethel. These will bring you up to 20 DEX early in the campaign.
- Constitution: 14
- Intelligence: 8 or 10
- Wisdom: 14
- Charisma: 10
And that does it for our Baldur's Gate 3 Monk class guide. Next up, we talk about the best build that we've been using during our playthrough.
Baldur's Gate 3 is filled to the brim with activities and secrets. You'll no doubt be part of an adventure that can take countless hours to complete. For other tips, you can visit our BG3 guides hub.