If you’re like me, then you’re always on the hunt for new and exciting ways to explore the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons. Today, we’re going to do just that with an intriguing deep-dive into a non-traditional character build: the Strength (STR) based Monk in D&D 5th Edition. Buckle up, because this is going to be a wild ride!
Breaking the Mold: STR vs DEX Monks
When we think of the classic Monk archetype, we tend to picture a nimble, dexterous martial artist, darting around the battlefield and landing quick, precise hits. That’s a Dexterity (DEX) based Monk for you. But what if we dared to defy convention? What if we swapped out Dexterity for Strength? Enter the STR based Monk.
Now, you might be wondering if a STR Monk is even viable. Well, not only is it viable, but it can also be an absolute blast to play. With this unconventional build, you’re in for a whole new world of role-playing possibilities, combat mechanics, and character development. It’s like seeing a familiar landscape under a different light – everything feels fresh and exciting!
The Building Blocks: Ability Scores and Races
So, let’s get started with the basics: ability scores. For a STR Monk, you’ll obviously want to max out Strength, but don’t ignore Wisdom (WIS) because your ki-based abilities depend on it. After that, Constitution (CON) should be your next priority for extra durability. You’ll also want a decent DEX score for a well-rounded Armor Class (AC).
When choosing a race for your STR Monk, look for ones that provide bonuses to STR and/or WIS. Some excellent choices include:
- Mountain Dwarves: With a +2 bonus to STR and +2 to CON, these hardy folk make for great STR Monks. Plus, their Dwarven Resilience gives you advantage on saving throws against poison, and resistance to poison damage!
- Firbolgs: These gentle giants get a +2 bonus to WIS and +1 to STR. They also have powerful build, meaning they count as one size larger for carrying capacity – perfect for grappling and throwing opponents!
- Goliaths: Goliaths receive a +2 bonus to STR and +1 to CON. Their Stone’s Endurance ability allows them to shrug off some damage, making them a hardy choice for the front lines.
Monk Traditions: Choosing Your Path
When you hit 3rd level, you’ll choose a Monastic Tradition. For STR Monks, there are two standouts: Way of the Open Hand and Way of the Long Death.
Way of the Open Hand Monks can manipulate their enemies’ positions, making them perfect for battlefield control. With high STR, your Flurry of Blows will feel more like a Flurry of Boulders!
Way of the Long Death Monks gain temporary hit points when they reduce a creature to 0 hit points, providing excellent survivability. Plus, the flavor of a hulking, death-obsessed Monk is just too cool to ignore.
Feats and Abilities: Powering Up Your Monk
As you progress, you’ll want to select feats and abilities that complement your STR Monk build. Here are some top picks:
- Grappler: As a STR Monk, grappling should be one of your go-to moves. This feat gives you advantage on attack rolls against creatures you’re grappling, and you can pin creatures to restrain them.
- Tavern Brawler: This feat not only increases your STR or CON by 1, but also gives you proficiency with improvised weapons – perfect for using the environment to your advantage. Plus, you can attempt to grapple as a bonus action when you hit with an unarmed strike or improvised weapon.
- Athlete: This feat boosts your STR by 1 and enhances your climbing and jumping abilities, giving your Monk an extra dimension of mobility.
- Mobile: Despite being a STR Monk, you still want to be swift on your feet. The Mobile feat gives you an extra 10 feet of movement and lets you avoid opportunity attacks from creatures you’ve attacked – handy for hit-and-run tactics.
The Art of Combat: STR Monk Tactics
With a STR based Monk, combat is more than just punching hard (though that’s a fun part of it!). It’s about utilizing your environment, controlling the battlefield, and making your enemies’ lives difficult.
Grappling is a key technique. With your high STR, you’ll be adept at grappling foes, restricting their mobility, and positioning them as you please. You can even throw them into each other, off cliffs, or into dangerous environments.
Don’t forget to use your Stunning Strike too. A stunned enemy grants you advantage, and with your high STR, that can mean devastating damage. Plus, a stunned creature can’t move, which synergizes perfectly with your grappling tactics.
The Power of Equipment: Useful Items for STR Monks
No adventurer should go without some handy equipment. Here are a few items that can bolster your STR Monk:
- Gauntlets of Ogre Power: These gauntlets set your STR score to 19 when you wear them. If your STR is already 19 or higher, they won’t have an effect, but they’re fantastic for lower-level STR Monks.
- Belt of Giant Strength: Like the Gauntlets of Ogre Power, but more powerful. Depending on the type of giant, your STR could go up to a whopping 29!
- Manual of Gainful Exercise: This magical book gives you a permanent +2 bonus to STR, up to a maximum of 24. It’s a rare item, but it’s worth its weight in gold for a STR Monk.
Multiclassing: Unleashing Your Full Potential
Multiclassing can add exciting new dimensions to your STR Monk. Consider dipping into Barbarian for a few levels. You’ll get Rage, which gives you a bonus to melee damage and resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. Plus, the Unarmored Defense feature will make you even tankier.
Fighter is another solid choice. The Fighting Style feature can further enhance your combat prowess, while Action Surge lets you unleash a barrage of attacks in a single turn.
The Journey’s End
And there you have it – the STR based Monk 5e, a character build that challenges convention and opens up a wealth of fun, new gameplay possibilities. Remember, D&D is about creativity and enjoyment, so don’t be afraid to try something different. Whether you’re grappling giants, stunning dragons, or punching holes in reality, the STR Monk is a testament to the fact that the only limit in D&D is your imagination.