Elf Monk Guide (DND 5E)

Monks in D&D 5th edition have evolved into a unique and entertaining class, offering players a versatile and exciting playstyle. As Elf Monks, they excel in combat, serving as support, defense, and damage dealers. With the right character build and progression, Elf Monks can strike hard and fast, stunning opponents and dodging danger themselves.

Elf Monk Guide (DND 5E)

Key Takeaways:

  • Elf Monks in DND 5E offer a unique and versatile playstyle.
  • With the right character build, Elf Monks excel in combat as support, defense, and damage dealers.
  • Choosing the right species, ability scores, monastic tradition, and feats is crucial for optimal performance.
  • Elf Monks have access to class skills that synergize with their abilities, enhancing their capabilities.
  • Optional class features and equipment can further customize an Elf Monk’s gameplay experience.

The Best Monk Species for DND 5E

The choice of species for your Elf Monk is crucial. The right species can provide valuable bonuses and abilities that complement the Monk class in D&D 5E. Let’s explore some of the best Monk species options:

Wood Elves

Wood Elves are known for their grace and agility, making them excellent Monk candidates. With bonuses to Dexterity and Wisdom, Wood Elves excel in both offense and defense. Their increased movement speed also allows them to maneuver swiftly on the battlefield.

Air Gensai

Air Gensai bring an elemental twist to the Monk class. With bonuses to Dexterity and Wisdom, they possess the ideal stats for a Monk. Additionally, Air Gensai have unique abilities like Darkvision and Unending Breath, enhancing their versatility in different situations.

Stout Halflings

Stout Halflings may seem small, but they make formidable Monks. With good ability stat bonuses and racial feats like Stout Resilience, which grants advantage against poison, Stout Halflings have the resilience to withstand challenging encounters.

Hill Dwarves

Hill Dwarves are known for their tough and sturdy nature. With a Constitution bonus, Hill Dwarves gain extra hit points, making them durable in combat. Their resilience and natural strength make them a solid choice for Monk characters.


Eladrin have unique fey powers that can greatly benefit Monks. They have the ability to Fey Step, allowing them to teleport short distances. With other traits such as bonuses to Dexterity and Intelligence, Eladrin offer a mix of combat prowess and magical capabilities.

Variant Humans

Variant Humans offer unparalleled customization options for Monk characters. With their flexible ability score improvement and a level 1 feat, Variant Humans allow players to shape their characters according to their preferences and playstyle.


Aarakocra possess a bird-like physiology, enabling them to fly and gain an advantage in aerial combat. With bonuses to Dexterity and Wisdom, Aarakocra Monks can seamlessly combine their aerial mobility with martial arts expertise.


Harengon are a nomadic race known for their speed and agility. With a natural bonus to Dexterity, Harengon Monks possess impeccable reflexes and make swift strikes on their foes.


Kenku have a unique ability known as Mimicry, allowing them to perfectly replicate sounds and voices they have heard. With bonuses to Dexterity and Wisdom, Kenku Monks can mimic opponents’ fighting styles, gaining an advantage in combat.

Forest Gnomes

Forest Gnomes have a natural affinity for nature and possess keen senses. With bonuses to Dexterity and Intelligence, Forest Gnomes excel in stealth and precision-based combat, making them ideal for Monk characters.

Species Ability Score Bonuses Notable Racial Traits/Feats
Wood Elves Dexterity, Wisdom Increased movement speed
Air Gensai Dexterity, Wisdom Darkvision, Unending Breath
Stout Halflings Dexterity, Constitution Stout Resilience (advantage against poison)
Hill Dwarves Constitution Extra hit points
Eladrin Dexterity, Intelligence Fey Step (teleportation ability)
Variant Humans Customizable Level 1 feat
Aarakocra Dexterity, Wisdom Flight ability
Harengon Dexterity Swift and agile
Kenku Dexterity, Wisdom Mimicry ability
Forest Gnomes Dexterity, Intelligence Stealth and nature affinity

Ability Scores for Elf Monks in DND 5E

When creating an Elf Monk in DND 5E, it’s important to prioritize certain ability scores to ensure optimal performance in combat and other challenges. Let’s take a closer look at the key ability scores for Elf Monks:


Dexterity is the primary and highest stat for Elf Monks. A high Dexterity score not only enhances their agility and finesse but also boosts their Armor Class (AC), damage rolls, and attack rolls. A nimble Monk with exceptional Dexterity can dart around the battlefield, landing devastating blows on their opponents.


Wisdom is the second most important stat for Elf Monks. A high Wisdom score improves their AC and saving throws, making them more resilient against spells and other forms of magical attacks. It also enhances their perception and allows them to sense danger before it strikes.


Constitution is an essential ability score for Elf Monks as it determines their hit points. A high Constitution score grants additional hit points, enhancing the Monk’s durability in combat and increasing their chances of survival.

Strength and Charisma

Strength and Charisma are generally less important for Elf Monks unless they are needed for specific character builds. While a Monk can benefit from a decent Strength score for certain combat maneuvers or grappling, it is typically secondary to other ability scores. Charisma, on the other hand, is often a dump stat for Monks, as it has little impact on their core abilities.


Intelligence is typically the Monk’s dump stat. As Monks rely more on agility, speed, and instinct rather than book smarts, Intelligence is usually not a priority for Elf Monks.

By carefully allocating ability scores, Elf Monks can maximize their potential in combat and other situations, showcasing their unparalleled agility and prowess on their adventurous journey.

Monastic Traditions for Elf Monks in DND 5E

The choice of monastic tradition greatly impacts an Elf Monk’s gameplay. There are several monastic traditions available in D&D 5E, each offering unique abilities and playstyles.

Way of Mercy

The Way of Mercy focuses on the balance between harming foes and healing allies. These Elf Monks excel at dealing damage while also providing support in the heat of battle. Through their understanding of the body’s vulnerabilities, they can exploit weaknesses and deliver precise strikes. This monastic tradition is ideal for those who wish to combine offensive and restorative capabilities to aid their party’s success.

Way of Shadow

For Elf Monks who prefer stealth and magical abilities, the Way of Shadow is an excellent choice. These Monks harness the shadows, allowing them to move unseen and strike from unexpected angles. With the ability to manipulate darkness and teleport between shadows, they become formidable combatants and skilled infiltrators. If you enjoy playing a sneaky, mysterious Elf Monk, the Way of Shadow is the perfect fit.

Way of the Four Elements

Monks who follow the Way of the Four Elements gain the power to control the elements themselves. By harnessing the primal forces of fire, water, earth, and air, these Elf Monks can unleash devastating attacks and manipulate the environment to their advantage. This monastic tradition provides versatility and elemental mastery, making it an exciting choice for Elf Monks who seek to command the very forces of nature.

Way of the Open Hand

The Way of the Open Hand is a traditional monastic path that focuses on enhancing martial arts abilities. These Elf Monks possess unparalleled speed and precision, allowing them to strike with lightning-fast punches and devastating kicks. They also possess the ability to control their ki to manipulate opponents or restore harmony within themselves. If you prefer a straightforward yet highly effective combat style, the Way of the Open Hand is the way to go.

As an Elf Monk in DND 5E, your choice of monastic tradition will shape your character’s capabilities and playstyle. Whether you prefer to be a supportive healer, a stealthy infiltrator, a master of the elements, or a skilled martial artist, there is a monastic tradition that suits your preferences.

Backgrounds for Elf Monks in DND 5E

The choice of background shapes an Elf Monk’s backstory. Various backgrounds can provide unique skills and tools that perfectly complement a Monk’s abilities. When creating an Elf Monk character in DND 5E, consider the following backgrounds:

1. Charlatan

The Charlatan background allows Elf Monks to deceive and manipulate others with their cunning nature. This background provides skills in Deception and Sleight of Hand, as well as specialized tools such as forgery kit and disguise kit, aiding in their covert endeavors.

2. Secret Identity

The Secret Identity background grants Elf Monks the ability to maintain a hidden persona, enabling them to operate discreetly. With skills in Stealth and Insight, Elf Monks can seamlessly blend into various social circles and gain important information for their adventures.

3. Folk Hero

The Folk Hero background gives Elf Monks a connection to the common people, making them champions of the oppressed. With proficiency in Animal Handling and a set of artisan’s tools, Elf Monks can inspire and rally others to fight for justice and freedom.

4. Outlander

An Outlander background allows Elf Monks to draw upon their natural survival skills, honed from living in the wilderness. Proficiency in Athletics and Survival, along with the ability to find food and fresh water, makes Elf Monks resilient in the face of adversity.

5. Sailor

Sailors possess valuable skills that can greatly benefit Elf Monks. Proficiency in Athletics and Perception, as well as knowledge of knots and using navigational tools makes Elf Monks excellent adventurers both on land and at sea.

6. Urchin

The Urchin background provides Elf Monks with a stealthy and resourceful upbringing in the streets and back alleys of cities. Proficiency in Sleight of Hand and Stealth, along with the ability to navigate urban environments and find hidden food and water sources, makes Elf Monks adept at surviving in bustling urban settings.

Consider your Elf Monk’s backstory and goals when choosing a background. Each background offers unique role-playing opportunities and can enhance your character’s skills and overall gameplay experience.

Skills for Elf Monks in DND 5E

As an Elf Monk in DND 5E, you have access to a variety of class skills that perfectly synergize with your unique abilities. These skills can be selected during character creation to enhance your Monk’s capabilities and make them even more formidable in combat and non-combat situations.

Take a look at the Monk class skills below:

  • Athletics
  • Acrobatics
  • History
  • Insight
  • Religion
  • Nature
  • Perception
  • Stealth

Each of these skills brings its own benefits and advantages to your Elf Monk character. Athletics allows you to excel in physical challenges and perform impressive feats of strength. Acrobatics enables you to maneuver with grace and finesse, making you a master of agility and balance. History and Religion provide you with knowledge and insights into the world’s past and its different faiths, allowing you to uncover hidden secrets and understand the motivations of others. Insight enhances your ability to read people and situations, granting you valuable intuition and discernment. Nature helps you understand the natural world, making you skilled at tracking, survival, and identifying plants and creatures. Perception sharpens your senses, making you incredibly observant and hard to catch off guard. Lastly, Stealth lets you move silently and unseen, making you an expert at infiltration and ambushes.

These skills can greatly contribute to your overall effectiveness as an Elf Monk, both in combat and in role-playing scenarios. By selecting the skills that align with your character’s background, personality, and playstyle, you can create a well-rounded Elf Monk that excels in any situation.

“Skills are the key to unlocking your character’s true potential. Choose wisely, young Monk, for your abilities will shape your destiny.”

Optional Class Features for Elf Monks in DND 5E

Optional class features introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything can enhance an Elf Monk’s gameplay. These features offer additional customization options and new abilities to further tailor the character to the player’s preferences.

Here are some of the notable optional class features available to Elf Monks:

1. Monastic Tradition: Way of the Astral Self

This subclass allows Elf Monks to manifest an astral self, forming an ethereal armor that enhances their abilities. They gain extra reach, bonus damage, and the ability to deflect missiles.

2. Ki-Fueled Attack

With this feature, Elf Monks spend ki to enhance their attacks. They gain the ability to deal additional psychic damage on hit, or gain advantage on their next attack.

3. Quickened Healing

This class feature allows Elf Monks to spend ki to heal themselves. They regain hit points equal to their Monk level, preventing the need for external healing sources.

4. Ki-Empowered Strikes

Elf Monks with this feature can bypass resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks. Their fists and monk weapons are considered magical, making their strikes more effective against resilient foes.

5. Diamond Soul

This class feature grants Elf Monks proficiency in all saving throws. It also allows them to reroll failed saving throws and can expend ki to gain advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

These optional class features offer Elf Monks the opportunity to further customize their playstyle and excel in combat situations.

Class Feature Description
Monastic Tradition: Way of the Astral Self Manifest an astral self, gaining ethereal armor and enhancing abilities.
Ki-Fueled Attack Spending ki to deal additional damage or gain advantage on attacks.
Quickened Healing Using ki to heal oneself without relying on external sources.
Ki-Empowered Strikes Bypassing resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks with magical strikes.
Diamond Soul Proficiency in all saving throws, rerolling failed saves, and advantage against spells.

Hit Points and Saves for Elf Monks in DND 5E

When it comes to survivability in combat, hit points and saves are crucial for Elf Monks in DND 5E. Monks have a hit dice of d8, which means they gain 8 hit points (plus their Constitution modifier) with each level they gain. This allows them to have a decent pool of hit points to withstand attacks from enemies.

In addition, Elf Monks have proficiency in saving throws, making them more resistant to the harmful effects of spells and other dangerous situations. Proficiency in saving throws means that they add their proficiency bonus to any saving throw they make, increasing their chances of success and avoiding debilitating effects.

Overall, the combination of decent hit points and proficiency in saving throws makes Elf Monks durable in combat situations. They can both dish out damage and withstand attacks, making them a valuable asset to any adventuring party.

Key Takeaways:

  • Elf Monks have a hit dice of d8, allowing them to have a decent pool of hit points.
  • Proficiency in saving throws gives Elf Monks an advantage in resisting spells and other dangerous effects.
  • The combination of hit points and saving throw proficiency makes Elf Monks durable in combat.

Best Feats for Elf Monks in DND 5E

Feats can greatly enhance an Elf Monk’s abilities, allowing them to excel in both combat and non-combat situations. Here are some of the best feats for Elf Monks in DND 5E:


The Lucky feat grants Elf Monks the ability to reroll certain rolls, ensuring a better chance at success.


The Mobile feat provides Elf Monks with increased movement speed and allows them to move through enemy spaces without triggering attacks of opportunity.


The Alert feat grants Elf Monks a bonus to their initiative rolls, ensuring they act quickly in combat. Additionally, they cannot be surprised while conscious.

Mage Slayer

The Mage Slayer feat enhances an Elf Monk’s ability to disrupt spellcasting and gives them advantage on saving throws against spells cast by adjacent enemies.


The Resilient feat allows Elf Monks to increase their Constitution score and gain proficiency in Constitution saving throws, improving their durability in combat.

Comparison of Best Feats for Elf Monks in DND 5E
Feat Description
Lucky Reroll certain rolls
Mobile Increased movement speed, avoidance of attacks of opportunity
Alert Bonus to initiative rolls, immunity to surprise
Mage Slayer Disrupt spellcasting, advantage on saving throws against adjacent spellcasters
Resilient Increased Constitution score, proficiency in Constitution saving throws

These feats provide Elf Monks with valuable advantages in their adventures, enhancing their combat prowess, survivability, and overall effectiveness. Choose the feats that best align with your playstyle and character concept to create a formidable Elf Monk in DND 5E.

Best Monk Builds for Elf Monks in DND 5E

Creating an optimal Monk build for an Elf Monk in DND 5E requires careful consideration of ability scores, monastic tradition, and feats. By customizing the character based on personal playstyle and preferences, you can create a unique and effective Monk build that excels in combat and contributes to any adventuring party.

When building an Elf Monk, prioritize Dexterity as your highest ability score. This boosts your AC, damage rolls, and attack rolls, enhancing your offensive capabilities. Additionally, Wisdom is important for AC and saving throws, while Constitution provides extra hit points for improved durability.

Next, choose a monastic tradition that aligns with your desired playstyle. The Way of Mercy focuses on harming enemies and healing allies, offering versatile support abilities. The Way of Shadows emphasizes stealth and magical prowess, perfect for sneaky and mysterious characters. The Way of the Four Elements grants control over the elements, allowing for impressive displays of elemental power. Lastly, the Way of the Open Hand enhances your martial arts abilities, granting powerful techniques for disabling opponents.

Feats can greatly enhance an Elf Monk’s capabilities, providing additional advantages in various situations. Consider feats such as:

  • Lucky: Gain extra luck points to reroll critical rolls, adding an element of unpredictability to your character.
  • Mobile: Increase your movement speed and gain the ability to move freely through difficult terrain without penalties, making you a nimble and elusive combatant.
  • Alert: Gain a bonus to your initiative rolls and become immune to being surprised, ensuring you always act quickly and maintain the upper hand in combat situations.
  • Mage Slayer: Gain advantages when targeting spellcasters and become resistant to their magic, providing a significant advantage in battles against arcane adversaries.
  • Resilient: Choose a saving throw and gain proficiency in it, strengthening your character’s resilience against specific types of attacks.

Remember, the best Monk build for an Elf Monk is one that suits your preferred playstyle and highlights the strengths of your character. Whether you envision a swift and shadowy assassin or a wise and compassionate healer, tailoring your choices to your character’s personality and backstory will result in a satisfying and effective Monk build.

Recommended Equipment for Elf Monks in DND 5E

When it comes to maximizing combat effectiveness, choosing the right equipment is crucial for Elf Monks in DND 5E. Here are some recommendations for optimal performance:

Monk Weapons:

  • Fists: The monks’ own hands can be deadly weapons, delivering swift and powerful strikes.
  • Specialized Weapons: Weapons such as shortswords, spears, and quarterstaffs are suitable for Elf Monks, providing versatility and increased damage potential.

Monk Armor:

Elf Monks have the option to choose light armor or rely on their unarmored defense feature for protection. Consider the following options:

  • Light Armor: Padded armor, leather armor, or studded leather armor can provide some additional defense without hindering the Monk’s agility.
  • Unarmored Defense: Elf Monks can rely on their remarkable speed and agility, using their high Dexterity and Wisdom scores to calculate their AC, avoiding the need for traditional armor.

Ultimately, the equipment choice for an Elf Monk depends on the player’s desired playstyle and the character’s strengths. Whether utilizing versatile monk weapons or embracing the fluidity of unarmored defense, Elf Monks can be formidable adversaries on the battlefield.

Remember to consider the strengths of your Elf Monk and choose equipment that complements their abilities, ensuring they are ready to face any challenge in the world of DND 5E.


In conclusion, the Elf Monk Guide for DND 5E provides players with a wealth of options to create powerful and enjoyable characters. By carefully considering the species, ability scores, monastic traditions, and feats, players can craft Elf Monks that excel in combat and contribute to any adventuring party.

The unique and versatile playstyle of Elf Monks makes them a valuable addition to any campaign. With their exceptional combat skills, stunning abilities, and remarkable mobility, Elf Monks can serve as support, defense, and damage dealers, ensuring the success and survival of their allies.

Whether you choose a Wood Elf that harnesses exceptional speed and agility, an Air Gensai with the power to control the elements, or any other species, the Elf Monk class in DND 5E offers endless possibilities for creative and effective character builds.

So, embrace the path of the Elf Monk and unlock your full potential in the world of Dungeons and Dragons. Create your own story, hone your skills, and become a legendary warrior with the Elf Monk Guide at your side.


What species are the best for Monk characters in DND 5E?

Some of the best species for Monk characters in DND 5E include Wood Elves, Air Gensai, Stout Halflings, Hill Dwarves, Eladrin, Variant Humans, Aarakocra, Harengon, Kenku, and Forest Gnomes.

What are the important ability scores for Elf Monks in DND 5E?

The primary and highest ability score for Elf Monks is Dexterity, followed by Wisdom and Constitution. Strength, Charisma, and Intelligence are typically less important.

Which monastic traditions can Elf Monks choose from in DND 5E?

Elf Monks have a choice between the Way of Mercy, Way of Shadow, Way of the Four Elements, and Way of the Open Hand monastic traditions.

What backgrounds are recommended for Elf Monks in DND 5E?

Recommended backgrounds for Elf Monks in DND 5E include Charlatan, Secret Identity, Folk Hero, Outlander, Sailor, and Urchin.

What skills are available for Elf Monks in DND 5E?

Elf Monks have access to class skills that synergize with their abilities, including those related to stealth, acrobatics, and unarmed combat.

What optional class features can enhance an Elf Monk’s gameplay in DND 5E?

Optional class features introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything provide additional customization options and new abilities for Elf Monks in DND 5E.

How durable are Elf Monks in combat situations in DND 5E?

Elf Monks have d8 hit points and proficiency in saving throws, making them durable in combat situations.

What feats can enhance an Elf Monk’s abilities in DND 5E?

Feats such as Lucky, Mobile, Alert, Mage Slayer, and Resilient can greatly enhance an Elf Monk’s abilities in DND 5E.

What are some recommended Monk builds for Elf Monks in DND 5E?

Recommended Monk builds for Elf Monks in DND 5E depend on personal playstyle and preferences. Customization based on ability scores, monastic tradition, and feats can lead to unique and effective characters.

What equipment is recommended for Elf Monks in DND 5E?

Recommended equipment for Elf Monks in DND 5E includes Monk weapons, such as fists and specialized weapons, and light armor or unarmored defense options for optimal combat performance.

Related Posts