Skip to main content

Baldur's Gate 3 best Monk build

The best subclass, equipment, skills and spells for Monk in BG3.

Monk custom screenshot in Baldur's Gate 3
Image credit: VG247 / Larian

A unique and powerful archetype, making full use of one of the best Baldur's Gate 3 Monk builds is a must if you want to explore the world of Baldur's Gate 3 as a character who focuses on unarmed combat while whooshing about the place like a cool ninja. It might not be the first class you think of when you think of D&D, but nevertheless, the Monk possesses some interesting attributes that are both challenging and rewarding to build, thanks in large part to their unique Ki powers.

This guide will take you through our Baldur's Gate 3 Monk build so you know what gear, spells, ability score priority and subclass to take.

Baldur's Gate 3 best Monk build

In Baldur's Gate 3, a Monk is all about the melee, but also appreciates that close-quarters and unarmed combat can come in many forms. It's not the most sociable class in BG3, but given the Monk's high likelihood of occupying an enemy's full attention, they can still be a valuable ally to their party.

Monk best race

The best race for Monk players in Baldur's Gate 3 is the Brass, Gold, or Red Dragonborn.

The Dragonborn might not initially seem like the most obvious pick for Monks, but given that this class is all about unarmed combat, you can't really overstate how helpful it is for a Monk to be able to breathe fire. Not to mention very, very cool. For that reason, we've specifically recommended the subraces with the Fire Breath trait. The Lightning Breath trait possessed by the Blue or Bronze Dragonborn works just as well for this build's purposes, although breathing electricity is somehow not quite as cool.

If you want to play things a little safer, though, the Wood Elf is a solid and extremely popular choice for Monk builds. Wood Elves gain a bunch of useful benefits including Dark Vision, extra movement range, improved proficiency with swords and bows, and improved Perception. This makes them a great choice for many classes in the game, especially if you're a newcomer to the systems used in Baldur's Gate 3.

Monk ability score priority

Your ability score priority should be Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, and then everything else.

When first creating your character, we recommend the following initial stats:

  • Strength - 12
  • Dexterity - 17
  • Constitution - 14
  • Intelligence - 8
  • Wisdom - 14
  • Charisma - 10

As you level up, you'll gain ability score increases at level 4, 8, and 12.

You should invest your points into Dexterity and Wisdom up to 20, and then distribute the remainder elsewhere. Constitution is also quite important for a Monk who'll be regularly getting up in their enemies' faces and dealing with the consequences, but it can be left a little later, particularly if you've picked a race with some built-in resilience.

Monk proficiencies and background

The best background for the Monk is the Criminal, which makes for a fantastic implied backstory. But on a practical level, it's the built-in bonuses in Stealth and Deception which make a criminal history the counter-intuitive best choice for a fleet-footed mercenary type.

Despite placing themselves on the frontlines of combat, Monks aren't necessarily tanks. A well-built Monk is at least as much about avoiding hits and counter-attacks as powering through them, which is why the most important proficiencies for this build are some combination of Athletics/Acrobatics, Stealth/Sleight of Hand, Deception, and Perception.

Monk best subclass

For our build, we recommend taking the Way of the Open Hand subclass.

While the alternative Way of Shadows subclass is very popular thanks to its array of Stealth abilities, our Monk is more focused on prowess in martial arts, and is less concerned with not being seen than with not being hit. It's a subtle difference, perhaps, but the Way of the Open Hand gets to focus on powerful melee attacks that scale off of Strength and Dexterity. Monks following this path learn how to be most effective in unarmed and even unarmoured combat, and can eventually learn to channel their Ki into even stronger melee strikes.

Monk best equipment

Monks have the Unarmored Movement feature, meaning that they get a very desirable 3m movement bonus when they're not wearing any armour. So, while it can be daunting, the best armour for a Monk is nothing at all. And, to be absolutely clear, you also need to go without a shield to reap those benefits.

One must-have piece of equipment for your Monk is the Gauntlet of the Tyrant pair of gloves. These add 1-4 force damage to all of the wearer's unarmed attacks. As for weapons, your Monk will largely be focussing on melee and (if you picked Dragonborn) breath attacks, so there's no need to be too fancy. Quarterstaffs are abundant throughout the game and, because they're this class's signature weapon, you can fight with one equipped and still enjoy the unarmed combat bonuses that grant a Monk an extra attack action.

Monk best feats and features

The Monk class possesses a bunch of great features, but there's something especially cool about Deflect Missiles, which unlocks at Level 3 and is basically what it sounds like: it allows you to reduce or even outright ignore the damage from a ranged weapon. Yes, you're waving away bullets, like in The Matrix. The Ki Resonation skills unlocked at Level 9 of the Open Hand subclass, meanwhile, showcase some of the Monk's best unique features. Basically, you can punch someone so hard they become like an energy bomb that triggers an AoE effect when it goes off, and if that's not something you're interested in, I don't know what to tell you.

When choosing feats for the Monk, Lucky is an excellent selection, allowing you to gain advantage on many of your rolls, or even force an enemy to reroll their own attack if the outcome is unfavourable to you. It's a bit like savescumming, but without the break in immersion. Neat! Mobile is also great for whisking yourself out of counterattack range while in melee combat, while Sentinel lets you do a bit of retaliation of your own if an enemy within range attacks one of your allies — defying turn order for the win!

That concludes our Baldur's Gate 3 Monk class guide! For similar guides, check out our pieces on the best Baldur's Gate 3 Cleric build and the best Baldur's Gate 3 Druid build.

Read this next